We develop a new implementation of a Michelson interferometer designed to make measurements with an uncertainty of less than 20 pm. This new method uses a tunable diode laser as the light source, with the diode laser wavelength continuously tuned to fix the number of fringes in the measured optical path. The diode laser frequency is measured by beating against a reference laser. High-speed, accurate frequency measurements of the beat frequency signal enables the diode laser wavelength to be measured with nominally 20-pm accuracy for the measurements described. The new interferometer design is lightweight and is mounted directly on an ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscope capable of atomic resolution. We report the simultaneous acquisition of an atomic resolution image, while the relative lateral displacement of the tip along the sample distance is measured with the new tunable diode laser Michelson interferometer.
Optical Engineering, 2004, Vol 43, Issue 1, p. 79-86