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Phase shift on reflection

  1. Jun 17, 2009 #1
    Hi all!

    I have a problem about the phase shift an e.m. wave aquire when, travelling through air, it's reflected back by a mirror (or a beam splitter) with n > n(air).

    Now, I know the example of the thin film interference due to a π shift of the wave reflected by the medium.

    But I see that in the Mach-Zender interferometer (for photons), when the two paths are different for the presence of two additonal reflections (on the beam splitters), we obtain a destructive interference (meaning a π phase shift). So it seems that each reflection on a beam splitter produces a π/2 phase shift, instead of a π phase shift.

    So the thin film interference and the Mach-Zender interference have something different.

    Now the question is:

    Is that due to a feature (that I'm not able to find) of the beam splitters or is that a consequence of the different angle of incidence of light on the beam splitters (π/4 instead of π/2)??

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  2. jcsd
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