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Modern Interferometry

Interferometry has been a very direct illustration of the wave nature of light for over a century, but with the invention of the laser, and the addition of quantitative electronic detection, it has become a wonderfully versatile and sensitive measurement technique. This workshop will teach by participation that interferometers are not just instruments to use, but are also systems that can be built, aligned, and fully understood.

The workshop will use the versatile apparatus offered by TeachSpin to illustrate several distinct topologies of interferometers (Michelson, Sagnac, and Mach-Zehnder). The emphasis will include not only the theory and use, but also the full assembly and alignment of these interferometers. Then there are a host of applications of the amazing sensitivity of interferometers, and some of these will be chosen to match participants' interests. Among other accomplishments, we'll detect nanometer displacements in real time, and also learn how to keep track of ‘fringe count’ during bi-directional motion.

Interferometry exercises the visual and tactile imaginations of its practitioners to a remarkable degree.