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M3-02. Michelson Interferometer - White Light


To show white light fringes using a Michelson interferometer.◙


Michelson interferometer, bright white light point source with condenser lens and heat filter, 20 cm imaging lens.◙


This setup is sensitive to mirror position; the correct position is written on the micrometer screw adjuster for the◙moveable mirror. Check that you have it aligned before trying to demonstrate it. ◙

Setup Time

5 minutes.




This experiment uses the laser and white light combination Michelson interferometer setup, which remains set up and aligned and only needs the light source to be installed. The system is pre-aligned according to procedures in the file. Because alignment requires a laser, this demonstration will be delivered (and can be used) with a laser installed. White light from a bright point source is collimated by a condenser lens and passes through a heat filter directly into the interferometer. The light exiting the interferometer is focused onto a distant screen, providing a field about one foot in di


Anonymous, White-Light Interference Fringes, AJP 35(3), XXII, (1967). ◙Eric F. Cave and Louis V. Holroyd, Inexpensive Michelson Interferometer, AJP 23, 61, (1955). ◙T. G. Bullen, Notes on an Inexpensive Form of Michelson's Interferometer, AJP 27, 520-521, (1959). ◙G. Friedmann and R. Vidal, Modification to an Inexpensive Interferometer, AJP 30, 604, (1962). ◙Hans Weltin, Light Beats, AJP 30, 653-654, (1962). ◙Gary C. Babcock, The "Sagnac" Interferometer, AJP 30, 311, (1962). ◙Historical Note on "White-Light Interference Fringes," AJP 35#11, ix (1967). ◙Graydon D. Bell and Eldred F. Tubbs, Use