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# Some notes on Fourier-transform spectroscopy

Elson Liu

General references
A good review of the principles of Fourier-transform spectroscopy is contained in Vanasse
and Sakai (1967).

Resolution
The mathematical basis of Fourier-transform spectroscopy is the Wiener-Khinchine theorem,
which states that the autocorrelation ΓU (τ ) of a signal u(t) and its power spectral density
GU (ν) form a Fourier-transform pair:
F
ΓU (τ ) ⇐⇒ GU (ν)

where
Z ∞
ΓU ( τ ) , u(t + τ )u(t) dt
−∞
|UT (ν)| 2
GU (ν) , lim
T →∞ T   
t
UT (ν) , F {uT (t)} = F u(t) rect
T

Our notation and definitions are based on that of Goodman (1985). The interferogram
recorded by a Fourier-transform spectrometer is the autocorrelation of the electric field.
The delay τ is generated by the unequal lengths of the arms, so we have τ = 2l/c, where
l is the difference in the length of the arms, and c is the speed of light in vacuum. In
Lab 1, we obtained ΓU (n), where n is the index of the stage position. By multiplying n
by the calibration factor C of microns per step, we rescale ΓU (n) to obtain ΓU (2l ). Fi-
nally, by dividing by c, we rescale ΓU (2l ) to obtain ΓU (τ ). In MATLAB, all of this can be
accomplished by rescaling the x-coordinate vector.
To determine the power-spectrum, we can perform a discrete Fourier transform on the
sampled interferogram data. The sampling interval in the frequency domain is

1
∆ν = ,
N∆τ

1
where N is the total number of samples, and ∆τ is the sampling interval in the time
domain. We can transform the frequency axis into a wavelength axis by taking the recip-
rocal and multiplying by c. (Note: uniform sampling in frequency becomes non-uniform
sampling in wavelength.)
The Fourier-transform relationship established by the Wiener-Khinchine theorem as-
sumes that the full interferogram is recorded. If we truncate the interferogram (i.e. if the
spectrometer only scans a finite range) then, by the convolution theorem, we have
τ
F
ΓU (τ ) rect ⇐⇒ GU (ν) ∗ T sinc(Tν)
T
where ∗ denotes the convolution operation. The convolution of the power spectral den-
sity GU (ν) with T sinc(Tν) limits the resolution of the spectrometer.

## Importing .adf files into MATLAB

Listing 1: lab1plot.m
function lab1plot ( filename , c a l i b r a t i o n)
% LAB1PLOT
% Plot extracted data and power spectrum from Lab 1
%
5 % Usage: lab1plot(filename,calibration)
%
%
% Inputs:
10 % filename = file name
% calibration = calibration factor in microns/step

## % import data file

data = dlmread ( filename , ’ \ t ’ );
15 c = 3 * 10^14; % speed of light in microns per second
dx = c a l i b r a t i o n;
x = dx * data (: ,1); % path difference
tau = x / c ; % delay
dtau = tau (2) - tau (1);
20 N = length ( x );
y = data (: ,2); % interferogram data
ybar = mean ( y ); % DC component

% plot interferogram
25 subplot (2 ,1 ,1)
plot (x , y )
xlabel ( ’ Position [\ mum ] ’ );
title ( ’ E x t r a c t e d i n t e r f e r o g r a m ’)

2
30 % compute power spectrum
Y = fft (y - ybar );
f = [0: N -1] ’/( N * dtau ); % frequency coordinate
lambda = c ./ f ; % frequency to wavelength conversion

## 35 % plot power spectrum

subplot (2 ,1 ,2)
plot ( lambda ( floor ( sqrt ( N )): floor ( N /8)) , ...
abs ( Y ( floor ( sqrt ( N )): floor ( N /8))) , ’o - ’)
xlabel ( ’ W a v e l e n g t h [\ mum ] ’ );
40 title ( ’ Power Spectrum ’)

References
Joseph W. Goodman. Statistical Optics. Wiley, New York, 1985.

## G. A. Vanasse and H. Sakai. Fourier spectroscopy. In E. Wolf, editor, Progress in Optics,

volume VI, chapter VII. North Holland, Amsterdam, 1967.