Interferometry is the name for a class of measurement techniques based on the interference of coherent optical fields or other electromagnetic radiation. Generally, Interferometric measurements are extremely accurate, but can be difficult to perform. Common uses for interferometry are optical ...

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Could (old) LIGO have detected GW150914?

The merging black hole binary system GW150914 was detected in only 16 days of aLIGO data at a signal level that appears to be well above the detection threshold at around 5 sigma. There are no further ...
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Photons with half integer angular momentum - what's happening?

I have just read this article - what is happening? Analysing these beams within the theory of quantum mechanics they predicted that the angular momentum of the photon would be half-integer, and ...
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LIGO flawed by the identical expansion of laser wavelength and arms in presence of a gravitational wave?

LIGO, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a large-scale physics experiment aiming to directly detect gravitational waves. The device measures the phase shift laser beams. If I ...
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How can laser interferometry be used to measure path difference smaller than wavelength of laser light?

The currently proposed Gravitational wave detection apparatus consists of Michelson Interferometer which is supposed to measure distances of the order of $10^{-22}$m. But the wavelength of the light ...
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Measuring tides in a swimming pool

The tidal range of a perfectly fluid inertialess ocean on the Earth (taking into account lunar tides only) is approximately half a metre: this is the range between "high" and "low" points of an ...
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How are the 4 km arms of LIGO measured so accurately?

The arms of the LIGO interferometer are 4 km long. Now, LIGO functions by measuring phase difference between two beams of light comming (as in Michaelson's Interferometer) to a sensitivity of $10^{-18}...
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Educational applications of a small Michelson interferometer?

The community college where I teach has some nice old Michelson interferometers. There appear to be a bunch of versions of these that used to be sold (may still be sold?) which were all probably knock-...
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294 views

A moderate introduction to Hanbury Brown Twiss interferometry in particle physics

For astronomy, as originally invented, the Hanbury Brown Twiss interferometer is good for finding the angular diameter of stars and is not a rapidly fluctuating observable like the amplitude in ...
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How does LIGO remove the effects of environmental noise?

Since LIGO is dealing with readings at nanometers, events such as vehicles driving nearby, and constant (but extremely minor) tremors of the earth can cause movement with the mirrors at nanometers. ...
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226 views

Is that a result of thin-film interference?

Several years ago, I was laying on my bed and had a CD shaped transparent plastic disk (which was covering a 100 CD stack), basically a transparent CD. I don't know why but I took my phone and took a ...
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Michelson–Morley @ Home

The Michelson-Morley experiment seems to have taken many years, resources and a nervous breakdown to complete. Is it possible to recreate a variation of this experiment at home for say, under $1000, ...
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How do the LASERs in LIGO realize that space has expanded as a gravitational wave passes by?

I read an article on LIGO, and I heard it mentioned that it is a nontrivial argument to say that the effect can be measured by interferometry. What happens to space as the wave passes? Does the light ...
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Isn't LIGO basically measuring the luminiferous aether?

I am bit confused about this one. I am not very acknowledgeable about gravitational waves and LIGO. But if it is basically a Michelson interferometer and can detect shifts in vacuum, doesn't this ...
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Simplest interferometer

I want to build simplest interferometer which should be able to measure movements down to fraction of wavelength. What is the simplest scheme for that, and what are the requirements for a laser? I ...
6
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425 views

Explanation of Michelson Interferometer Fringe Shift

I have been working on an experiment where 2 glass microscope slides are pinched together at one end (so that there is a "wedge" of air between them) and placed in the path of a laser in one leg of a ...
6
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122 views

Orientation of the LIGO Arms

The orientation of the interferometer arms at both sites are approximately Northeast-Southwest and Nortwest-Southeast, though I assume that, on account of the Earth's curvature, no pair of arms is ...
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Is it possible to make a hydrogen-alpha solar scope?

Is the construction of an etalon / Fabry-Pérot interferometer within the reach of amateur telescope makers? Are there any resources pointing to such projects?
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Could many widely separated space telescopes be combined for VLBI on IR/visible wavelengths?

I have read about ground-based Very Long Baseline Interferometry telescope arrays able to achieve huge resolution at IR/visible wavelengths. There are also space-ground VLBI configurations in ...
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How is the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect used to measure the size of stars?

I understand what an Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) interferometer does, but how can this be used to measure the apparent angular diameter of some object? What is the mathematical explaination?
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Are Newton's gravity waves detectable by a laser interferometer?

Newton's theory of gravity supports "gravity waves" in that moving objects cause changing gravitational fields. For example, two bodies rotating around their center of mass will have a stronger ...
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735 views

Beam splitters and Mach-Zender interferometers

I have a question (my very first here) related to 50/50 beam splitters as used in the Mach-Zehnder interferometers (see for example the Wikipedia page). Let's concentrate on the input beam splitter: ...
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In interferometry, what is the origin of the name “Airy function”?

In interferometry (specifically, in the domain of Fabry-Perot cavities), the function $$f(\phi) = \frac{1}{1 + F \sin^2 \phi},$$ which describes the shape of the resonant structure of the cavity, is ...
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How does LIGO reduce noise below what it is detecting? [duplicate]

LIGO is designed to detect changes in length on the order of 10,000ths the scale of a proton. I know they are extremely well isolated from their surroundings, but how could we even approach isolation ...
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Einstein's original papers predicting gravitational waves? [closed]

I came across the original handwritten papers in which Einstein predicted gravitational waves1: and since LIGO announced they've detected a signal confirming the predictions I was wondering if ...
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How well can we localize gravitational wave sources?

A recent question cited a story about the recent gravitational wave detection saying that we can use the gravitational wave sensing to find supernova earlier in their process of collapse: [with ...
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Can the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect be used to measure the size of composite objects like galaxies?

I know that the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect can be used to measure the size of stars. Can it also be used to measure the size of galaxies?
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Michelson interferometer finding $\frac{\Delta \nu}{\bar \nu}$?

Let us say we send light with wavenumber $\bar \nu \pm \frac{\Delta \bar \nu}{2}$ through a Michelson Interferometer. Using the intensity at the center of the interference pattern $I(x)$ (where $x$ is ...
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How is a one position shift of an interferometer fringe pattern defined?

When Michelson and Morley conducted their 1887 interferometer experiment, they were expecting a fringe pattern shift of 0.4 (see the chart at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson-Morley_experiment). ...
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Misaligned Mirror on Michelson Inferometer

If one of the outer mirrors on a Michelson interferometer was to be misaligned by a small angle of theta, what would be the shape of the interference pattern in the detector plane? What would happen ...
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271 views

How is LIGO so sensitive? [duplicate]

My understanding is that interferometers can detect distance changes on the order of the wavelength of light being used. LIGO uses 808 nm light but has a sensitivity of 10^-18 m. Where do those 11 ...
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257 views

How to measure an image's contrast?

I'm studying Fourier optics and Interferometry and I intend to determine the contrast of an image using computer software. My teacher of Experimental Physics didn't tell me how to do it, and so, I'm ...
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77 views

Why are they building eLISA and what implications would it have?

I understand that the next step after LIGO is to plan and build eLISA, I understand that out in space there are a lot less interferences compared to Earth which makes it a good way to detect things we ...
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339 views

How to interpret single photon interference when the two possible paths are different in length?

Here is my question. I struggle with the definition of single photon interference. Let’s assume we have a Michelson interferometer and the interference pattern we observe is a single photon result, ...
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Why removing one slab in Michelson-Morley experiment causes an elliptical fringe pattern?

I performed Morley experiment using He-Ne laser. Two glass slabs were there and circular fringes were formed but when I removed one slab elliptical fringes were there (and less intense fringes). Why? ...
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Do interference rings disappear in an interferometer if the path lengths are identical?

Consider a standard Michelson Interferometer (I took the picture from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interferometer) The incident beam is split into two parts, where the two parts travel on different ...
3
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193 views

How thermal noise is avoided in LIGO?

I think I have understood properly the principle of LIGO, however the sensitivity is around $10^{-18}~\rm m$ of accuracy of distortion. That looks pretty small... just starting with simpler phenomena, ...
3
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Do stars produce spatially coherent light? Why?

If I understand correctly, the existance of astronomical interferometry implies coherence of light produces by stars. The temporal coherence can probably be achieved by wavelength filters. But what ...
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How do animal perceive distances with their eyes and ears

I am studying how animals (including the human beings) can perceive distances thanks to their eyes and their ears. I am focusing on the fact that they always go in pairs: two eyes, two ears, etc. ...
3
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1answer
30 views

How do large interferometers work?

In very large Michelson interferometer a such as LIGO, how can we keep the two light paths at the exact same distance in order to avoid any unwanted and noisy fringes shift? When I used to make ...
3
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1answer
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Michelson interferometry - is a compensator plate necessary?

I am studying the Michelson interferometer shown in figure 2 (similar design shown below) of the AMRITA vlabs tutorial. There it is stated that Since the reflecting surface of the beam splitter ...
3
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How can I easily explain interference to a tour group?

I'm looking for unique and illustrative ways to explain the phenomenon of interference to a tour group consisting of all types of people, from elementary school kids to adults. I run into this ...
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118 views

Michelson interferogram white light pattern symmetry

Why is the white light of the interferogram produced by using Michelson Interferometer necessarily symmetric? This is really hard to think.
3
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1answer
137 views

Classical and semi-classical vs quantum interferometry

What is the difference between classical, semi-classical and quantum interferometry? How the detectors look like? As far as I know in classical interferometry light is treated as a wave, whereas in ...
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596 views

Single photon interference experiment

In short: the question is, does the length of the path affect the outcome of detecting a photon? Consider the single photon beam splitter experiment. Does the probability of detecting the photon ...
3
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1answer
463 views

How does a warp field interferometer work?

Assume I have a solid grasp of undergraduate physics. From what I've read the warp field interferometer is supposed to be a sort of Michelson interferometer, except instead of adjusting the ...
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Physics of detection of coherent light in an incoherent background using the more compact Fabry Perot interfeometer?

I read University Of California Berkeley Professor J. Bokor's Chapter 7 course notes , shown below as an imgur image , on Temporal Coherence tonight. I am sending an email to Professor J. Bokor ...
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Difference between Amplitude and Intensity Interferometer?

A lot of books explain the first order and second order coherence correlations for light. They explain the difference between these using interferometers (Michelson and Hanbury-Brown and Twiss (HBT) ...
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Loss of interference in single-photon Mach–Zehnder interferometer with detector in only one arm

I have read that if you have a Mach–Zehnder interferometer (doing a single-photon experiment) and put a non-destructive detector in only one of the two arms (connected to the first beam splitter), you ...
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Michelson–Morley experiment's aether; Why is the time gained from travelling downwind less than that lost travelling upwind?

From the Wikipedia article on the Michelson–Morley experiment, explaining one of the concepts behind the landmark experiment: "If the Earth is traveling through an aether medium, a beam reflecting ...
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SU(3) interferometry with qutrits

It is well known that a two-mode interferometer can be described in terms of $SU(2)$ group Smerzi. I wonder if something symilar exists for three mode interferometer and qutrit states ? Not only ...