6D40.10 - Michelson Interferometer

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Michelson Interferometer
Interference of Light
Area of Study:
Laser (2 to 5 mw.), Beam Expander, Michelson Interferometer, Small Paper Screen, and Video Camera.

Shine the expanded beam of the laser into the interferometer. Make sure the laser is lined up squarely with the interferometer. When correctly lined up a circular interference pattern will appear on the screen. By changing the path length of the one leg of the interferometer with the control knobs or by just blowing air across one of the mirrors you can observe the fringe shifts. Interference fringes can also be produced using a single mirror.

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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.