Abstract

Conventional analyses of the accuracy of phase-measurement interferometry derive a figure of merit that is either a variance or a signal-to-noise ratio. We derive the probability-density function of the phase-measurement output, so that the measurement confidence interval can be determined. We include both laser phase noise and additive Gaussian noise, and we consider both unmodulated interferometers and those employing phase or frequency modulation. For both unmodulated and modulated interferometers the confidence interval can be obtained by numerical integration of the probability-density function. For the modulated interferometer we derive a series summation for the confidence interval. For both unmodulated and modulated interferometers we derive approximate analytical expressions for the confidence interval, which we show to be extremely accurate at high signal-to-noise ratios.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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