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Unformatted text preview: Experiment 4 – The Michelson Interferometer 1 Experiment 4 The Michelson Interferometer 1 Introduction There are, in general, a number of types of optical instruments that produce optical interference. These instruments are grouped under the generic name of interferometers. The Michelson interferometer causes interference by splitting a beam of light into two parts. Each part is made to travel a different path and brought back together where they interfere according to their path length difference. You will use the Michelson interferometer to observe the interference of two light sources: a HeNe laser and a sodium lamp. You will study interference patterns quantitatively to determine the wavelengths and splitting of the Na D lines empirically. You will use the HeNe laser interference spectrum to calibrate the interferometer. 2 Background - see Hecht, Chap. 9 2.1 The Michelson Interferometer The Michelson interferometer is a device that produces interference between two beams of light. A diagram of the apparatus is shown in Fig. 1. The basic operation of the interferometer is as follows. Light from a light source is split into two parts. One part of the light travels a different path length than the other. After traversing these different path lengths, the two parts of the light are brought together to interfere with each other. The interference pattern can be seen on a screen. Light from the source strikes the beam splitter (designated by S )....
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This note was uploaded on 12/29/2011 for the course PHYSICS 375 taught by Professor Eno during the Spring '11 term at Maryland.
- Spring '11