Interference of Light Waves


Optical interference is a direct proof of the wave nature of light. The interference principle for light waves promoted by T. Young (1773–1829) was corroborated excellently by his famous double-slit experiment. During further development of wave optics, a large number of new experimental methods to investigate the interference of light beams were proposed. Most of these classical experiments carry the names of their creators: Lloyd mirror, bi-prism and bi-mirrors of Fresnel, Newton rings, Michelson-, Lummer-Gehrcke-, and Fabry-Perot interferometers and many others. It is justified to relate the features of these classical optical experiments to the methods of classical natural science. In fact, through the creation of each particular interference instrument, a certain concrete physical problem was solved. For example, in his first double slit experiment Young was able to estimate the wavelength of a light wave. Further, as optical experimental technique was developed to more sophisticated instruments, the precise measurement of physical quantities became a leading motivation for the construction of interferometers. For this purpose, different types of Michelson interferometers Were used to establish a more accurate length standard.


Focal Plane Interference Pattern Interference Fringe Free Spectral Range Optical Resonator 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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