Various uses of visible light interference patterns are provided. Suitable interference patterns are those formed by diffraction from patterns of apertures. Typical uses disclosed herein relate to spatial metrology, such as translational and/or angular position determination system. Further uses include the analysis of properties of the light itself (such as the determination of the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation). Still further uses include the analysis of one or more properties (e.g. refractive index) of the matter through which the light passes. part of the interference pattern is captured at a pixillated detector, such as a CCD chip, and the captured pattern compared with a calculated pattern. Very precise measurements of the spacing between maxima is possible, thus allowing very precise measurements of position of the detector in the interference pattern
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