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FWMI

field wide Michelson interferometer

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What does michelson interferometer mean?

Michelson interferometer
The Michelson interferometer is a common configuration for optical interferometry and was invented by Albert Abraham Michelson. Using a beam splitter, a light source is split into two arms. Each of those light beams is reflected back toward the beamsplitter which then combines their amplitudes using the superposition principle. The resulting interference pattern that is not directed back toward the source is typically directed to some type of photoelectric detector or camera. For different applications of the interferometer, the two light paths can be with different lengths or incorporate optical elements or even materials under test. The Michelson interferometer (among other interferometer configurations) is employed in many scientific experiments and became well known for its use by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in the famous Michelson–Morley experiment (1887) in a configuration which would have detected the earth's motion through the supposed luminiferous aether that most physicists at the time believed was the medium in which light waves propagated. The null result of that experiment essentially disproved the existence of such an aether, leading eventually to the special theory of relativity and the revolution in physics at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 2015, another application of the Michelson interferometer, LIGO, made the first direct observation of gravitational waves. That observation confirmed an important prediction of general relativity, validating the theory's prediction of space-time distortion in the context of large scale cosmic events (known as strong field tests).

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