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The European XFEL is a free-electron laser (FEL) with a superconducting linear accelerator and three beamlines (SASE1, SASE2, and SASE3) covering the energy range from 250 eV to 24 keV. The SASE3 beamline is dedicated to the soft x-ray range (0.25-3 keV) and is designed to operate in both monochromatic and non-monochromatic mode. A variable line spacing – plane grating (VLS-PG) monochromator is placed along the beam transport system for the monochromatic mode. The VLS parameters of the grating profile are challenging from a manufacturing and measuring perspective, especially at the desired length of 530 mm. A shorter grating of 150 mm has been procured to allow early operation of the facility. We describe the characterization method that was used to assess the VLS parameters of the grating using Fizeau interferometry. The method is intrinsically absolute and limited only by the quality of the test grating and the noise level. Further measurements using a white-light-interferometry profilometer are also reported. We discuss the possibility of extending the method to the future 530 mm long grating.




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