Compact spectrometers fabricated by placing a wedged etalon or a linear variable filter in front of a linear photodiode array typically do not exhibit the spectral resolution of a parallel filter of the same finesse. A theoretical analysis of the beam emerging from a wedged etalon is shown to predict a comalike aberration, explaining the loss in resolution. This analysis also predicts a focused beam waist whose axial position depends on the incidence angle, indicating that resolution can be improved by placing this waist on the detector. These results are experimentally confirmed in a multicavity linear variable filter to achieve 0.09 nm spectral resolution at 1550 nm.
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