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Optical tools respond to internal vibration that can be excited by the external acoustic environment. The degree to which this occurs depends on many factors, but primarily the correspondence between the resonance characteristics of the tool and the frequency content of the acoustic environment in which it operates. Adverse noise environments, such as those often found in laboratories and microelectronics fabrication facilities, can affect the threshold of resolution achievable by the tool. This paper reviews the (typically somewhat inadequate) state of noise specification for optical tools, and the noise levels in typical spaces in which these are intended to operate. Manufacturer's noise specifications often overstate or understate the sensitivity of their tool when the noise sensitivity criterion is oversimplified. More precise and detailed criteria would be useful, for example, in the design of laboratories, or troubleshooting tool operational problems.

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