Precision metrology for studying optical surfaces

Precision metrology can help provide a better understanding of one of the major puzzles in optics— how does light interact with a surface and, in particular, with the roughness on a polished optical surface? The surface is made up of atoms whose spacings are of the order of a few angstroms. The atoms can be arranged in a completely random manner, in the uniform order of a perfect single crystal, or, more generally, in the form of tiny crystallites that are randomly ordered relative to one another.

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