lecture26 - Physics 2102 Gabriela Gonzlez Michelson...

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Physics 2102 Gabriela González
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Michelson interferometers: As we saw in the previous example, interference is a spectacular way of measuring small distances (like the thickness of a soap bubble), since we are able to resolve distances of the order of the wavelength of the light (for instance, for yellow light, we are talking about 0.5 of a millionth of a meter, 500nm). This has therefore technological applications. In the Michelson interferometer, light from a source (at the left, in the picture) hits a semi-plated mirror. Half of it goes through to the right and half goes upwards. The two halves are bounced back towards the half plated mirror, interfere, and the interference can be seen by the observer at the bottom. The observer will see light if the two distances travelled d 1 and d 2 are equal, and will see darkness if they differ by half a wavelength. Einstein’s messengers (einsteinsmessengers.org)
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http://www.ligo-la.caltech.edu Mirrors are suspended with wires and isolated from the ground motion. The interferometer will
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