Generation of optical reference signals robust to diffractive effects

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In grating measurement systems, a reference signal is needed to achieve an absolute measurement of the position. The zero reference signals are normally obtained illuminating two identical superimposed zero reference codes (ZRCs) and registering the transmitted light by means of a photodiode. As one ZRC moves with respect to the other, the two codes overlap and the signal registered is the autocorrelation of the ZRC transmittance. In high resolution systems, the diffraction effects degrade the geometrical shadow of the first ZRC as it propagates to the second one. As a result, the autocorrelation is also degraded and the amplitude of the reference signal is greatly reduced. In this letter, we present a method for designing ZRCs with minimum diffractive effects. The method is based on the optimization of ZRCs by means of a genetic algorithm.
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