A near UV-near IR Fourier transform spectrometer based on a beam-folding position-tracking method realized by using retroreflectors is reported. The use of retroreflectors maintains all beams in the beam-fold arrangement in parallel with the incident beams. The beam-folding interferometer used for position tracking is arranged to have optical path symmetry with the measurement interferometer in the zero path difference position of the measurement interferometer, and the vertex of the movable retroreflector in the measurement interferometer is arranged very close to the midpoint of the vertices of two movable retroreflectors in the position-tracking interferometer. These measures keep the equivalent optical axis of the position-tracking interferometer well in line with that of the measurement interferometer even with translational misalignments. Therefore, the change in the optical path difference of the position-tracking interferometer is always synchronous to that of the measurement interferometer during the scanning process. That is, the position-tracking error can be suppressed to very small values during a scan. We have demonstrated a UV-near IR Fourier transform spectrometer with a standard quality ball-bearing translation stage achieving a resolution close to the theoretical resolution of ∼0.28 cm-1 at the He-Ne laser wavelength when the scan distance reaches the travel distance of over 2 cm. This was achieved without the need for elaborate optics, sophisticated detecting electronics, and high-precision servomotion control.
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