Understanding Interference Fringes in a Michelson Interferometer

• rspandher
In summary, the conversation discusses the method of determining the direction of movement of interference fringes by changing the distance between two mirrors through rotating a knob. It is explained that when the distance difference is 0, there will be no fringes and as the distance difference increases, the fringes move inwards due to the equation for the radius of the smallest fringe being proportional to 1/d.
rspandher
how can you tell whether the interference fringes are moving in or out as you change the distance between the mirrors by rotating the knob clockwise or counterclockwise. say if the circular fringes are moving toward the center of the screen than in what direction the knob is being rotated. my teacher couldn't even explain this to me

When the distance difference d between the two legs of the interferometer is 0, there will be no fringes. Look at the equation for the radius of the smallest fringe -- it's proportional to 1/d, right? So as you increase the distance difference, the fringes get smaller, ie, move inwards.

What is a Michelson Interferometer?

A Michelson Interferometer is a scientific instrument used to measure the wavelength of light. It uses the principle of interference to split a beam of light into two beams, recombine them, and create an interference pattern that can be measured.

How does a Michelson Interferometer work?

A Michelson Interferometer works by splitting a beam of light into two beams using a partially silvered mirror. One beam is reflected off a fixed mirror, while the other beam is reflected off a movable mirror. The two beams then recombine and create an interference pattern, which can be observed and measured.

What is the purpose of a Michelson Interferometer?

The purpose of a Michelson Interferometer is to measure the wavelength of light and to detect small changes in the wavelength. It is also used in spectroscopy to analyze the composition of materials based on the wavelengths of light they emit.

How accurate is a Michelson Interferometer?

A Michelson Interferometer is a highly accurate instrument, with a precision of up to 1/1000th of the wavelength of light being measured. This makes it a valuable tool in various scientific fields, including astronomy, physics, and engineering.

Who invented the Michelson Interferometer?

The Michelson Interferometer was invented by American physicist Albert A. Michelson in 1881. He used the instrument to accurately measure the speed of light and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907 for his work.

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