Essay Example on In the first part of this experiment the Michelson Interferometer









In the first part of this experiment the Michelson interferometer was used for the purpose of causing interference by splitting incoming rays of light into 2 distinct components Each beam propagates along a different path reflects and reconvene upon a screen where they produce interference patterns based on the difference in distance each ray takes Using the Michelson interferometer students were able to observe the interference of two light sources a red gas laser and a green diode laser By studying the physical properties of light which describe the interference patterns quantitatively the wavelength for each laser was determined by dispersion of the fringe lines empirically First the laser interference spectrum was used to calibrate the interferometer Background Image Image http www industrial electronics com laser_9 html In 1803 Thomas Young became a pioneer in designing methods for producing interference patterns some years following his famous Double Slit experiment His initial trials involved exposing a narrow beam of light to two narrow closely spaced slits whereby an observing screen opposed the slits 

When light from the slits collectively occurred on the screen a coherent pattern of dark and bright fringes appeared assuming noise had been filtered out from a long distance away Unbeknownst to Young at the time it was later realized that the slits actually functioned as an interferometer When the geometric configuration spacing width shape number of the slits configuration is given the spacing where either maxima or minima occur may conversely be used to determine the wavelength of the beam Likewise if wavelength is known the spacing of the slits could be determined based studying the interference pattern produced which was found in previous lab experiments From this experiment the implications offered evidence for light s wave properties It was understood that a beam of light may be modeled as a wave of oscillating electric and magnetic fields as a consequence of Maxwell's Equations From Young's Double 

Slit experiment it became known when beams intersect each other their fields mutually add according to the principle of superposition such that both the electric and magnetic field are defined as the transverse vector components of their respective beam For this reason interferometry had become widely utilized in various fields of physics for determining wavelength in light and extremely small distances based on these wavelengths from known sources When beams originate from different independent sources no fixed relationship between their oscillatory behavior phase shift may be found If at any instant such beams were to cross paths we should expect that the waves produced by each field construct respectively in order to produce a maximums in their respective field strengths at points which are defined by their relative phase differences Almost 76 78 years after Thomas Young's slit experiment physicist Albert Michelson designed an apparatus in 1880 known as the Michelson interferometer which applied the principle of interference in his famous findings with physicist Edward Morley as a method to study several concepts of physics including providing evidence for the lack of the existence of Ether a theoretical medium for which light could propagate through When fringe patterns are produced their characteristics depend on the relative phase between two interfering light sources In this second part of this experiment the two ways of varying this phase was by varying the distance traveled by a beam relative to another or the medium through which the beams pass For this lab we found either method would influence the interference pattern by applying said changes to one or both of the beams The Gas laser source produces a beam which propagates in the direction of and interacts with a beam splitter angled at an angle ideally used to deflect an amount of incident light at an angle and transmit the remaining intensity unimpeded The incident beam will split and diverge to form two beams 90º apart where one is reflected toward a mirror in the perpendicular direction while the other is transmitted toward a mirror in the parallel direction both placed the a distance away from the spitter in their respective direction When these beams are reflected back toward the beam splitter by their respective mirror half the amount of light from each mirror is returned to the beam splitter and redirected onto a observing screen 

Provided that both beams experience a common drag force or impedance due to the existence or there lack of Ether it is expected that both beams return to the beam splitter at the same time given they have travelled the same distance In doing so once the portions of each resulting beam consolidate at the observing screen it is expected that their phase is well correlated given the beams originate from a common source and therefore each beam shares wave properties wavelength Originally using a gas or diode based laser produces a small region which is visibly difficult to study the interference To compensate a lens is inserted between incoming laser and the beam splitter causes the light ray to spread such that the central rays still propagates linearly through the interferometer and produces a magnified region 2 Rays neighboring will appear to divert radially outward from the center of the beam Using this the interference pattern produced on the observing screen is composed of concentric bright and dark regions forming fringes The rings produced by rays at various radii from the center since they will have taken a longer distance than their predecessors compared to the total distance actually made by transversing the path of the interferometer The interference pattern s fringes will be counted in a fringe based period depending on how the overall configuration of the apparatus varies

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