The Watson interferometer is a vintage microscope accessory (for use only in reflected light microscopy) which was manufactured by the Watson Company in Great Britain. It is a variant of Michelson interferometer that can be installed on a conventional microscope. It consists of a beam splitter and varying the distance between the specimen surface and the image of the reference mirror creates interference fringes. For transmitted light investigations in biology, the C. Watson company produced the Smith/Baker system in the 1950s.
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.
A beam splitter is an optical device that splits a beam of light in two. It is the crucial part of most interferometers.
Classical interference microscopy, also called quantitative interference microscopy, uses two separate light beams with much greater lateral separation than that used in phase contrast microscopy or in differential interference microscopy (DIC).
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Microscopy is the science of investigating small objects and structures using such an instrument. Microscopic means invisible to the eye unless aided by a microscope.
Fourier-transform spectroscopy is a measurement technique whereby spectra are collected based on measurements of the coherence of a radiative source, using time-domain or space-domain measurements of the electromagnetic radiation or other type of radiation. It can be applied to a variety of types of spectroscopy including optical spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), mass spectrometry and electron spin resonance spectroscopy. There are several methods for measuring the temporal coherence of the light, including the continuous wave Michelson or Fourier-transform spectrometer and the pulsed Fourier-transform spectrograph.
Cathodoluminescence is an optical and electromagnetic phenomenon in which electrons impacting on a luminescent material such as a phosphor, cause the emission of photons which may have wavelengths in the visible spectrum. A familiar example is the generation of light by an electron beam scanning the phosphor-coated inner surface of the screen of a television that uses a cathode ray tube. Cathodoluminescence is the inverse of the photoelectric effect, in which electron emission is induced by irradiation with photons.
Interferometry is a family of techniques in which waves, usually electromagnetic waves, are superimposed, causing the phenomenon of interference, which is used to extract information. Interferometry is an important investigative technique in the fields of astronomy, fiber optics, engineering metrology, optical metrology, oceanography, seismology, spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, nuclear and particle physics, plasma physics, remote sensing, biomolecular interactions, surface profiling, microfluidics, mechanical stress/strain measurement, velocimetry, and optometry.
Angular resolution or spatial resolution describes the ability of any image-forming device such as an optical or radio telescope, a microscope, a camera, or an eye, to distinguish small details of an object, thereby making it a major determinant of image resolution. In physics and geosciences, the term spatial resolution refers to the precision of a measurement with respect to space.
In physics, the Mach–Zehnder interferometer is a device used to determine the relative phase shift variations between two collimated beams derived by splitting light from a single source. The interferometer has been used, among other things, to measure phase shifts between the two beams caused by a sample or a change in length of one of the paths. The apparatus is named after the physicists Ludwig Mach and Ludwig Zehnder: Zehnder's proposal in an 1891 article was refined by Mach in an 1892 article.
The Sagnac effect, also called Sagnac interference, named after French physicist Georges Sagnac, is a phenomenon encountered in interferometry that is elicited by rotation. The Sagnac effect manifests itself in a setup called a ring interferometer. A beam of light is split and the two beams are made to follow the same path but in opposite directions. On return to the point of entry the two light beams are allowed to exit the ring and undergo interference. The relative phases of the two exiting beams, and thus the position of the interference fringes, are shifted according to the angular velocity of the apparatus. In other words, when the interferometer is at rest with respect to a nonrotating frame, the light takes the same amount of time to traverse the ring in either direction. However, when the interferometer system is spun, one beam of light has a longer path to travel than the other in order to complete one circuit of the mechanical frame, and so takes longer, resulting in a phase difference between the two beams. This arrangement is also called a Sagnac interferometer. Georges Sagnac set up this experiment to prove the existence of the aether that Einstein's theory of special relativity had discarded.
In physics, a neutron interferometer is an interferometer capable of diffracting neutrons, allowing the wave-like nature of neutrons, and other related phenomena, to be explored.
The Virgo interferometer is a large interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves predicted by the general theory of relativity. Virgo is a Michelson interferometer that is isolated from external disturbances: its mirrors and instrumentation are suspended and its laser beam operates in a vacuum. The instrument's two arms are three kilometres long and located in Santo Stefano a Macerata, near the city of Pisa, Italy.
A wavefront sensor is a device for measuring the aberrations of an optical wavefront. Although an amplitude splitting interferometer such as the Michelson interferometer could be called a wavefront sensor, the term is normally applied to instruments that do not require an unaberrated reference beam to interfere with. They are commonly used in adaptive optics systems, lens testing and increasingly in ophthalmology.
A Fizeau interferometer is an interferometric arrangement whereby two reflecting surfaces are placed facing each other. As seen in Fig 1, the rear-surface reflected light from the transparent first reflector is combined with front-surface reflected light from the second reflector to form interference fringes.
Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas. An FTIR spectrometer simultaneously collects high-spectral-resolution data over a wide spectral range. This confers a significant advantage over a dispersive spectrometer, which measures intensity over a narrow range of wavelengths at a time.
A Mirau interferometer works on the same basic principle as a Michelson interferometer. The difference between the two is in the physical location of the reference arm. The reference arm of a Mirau interferometer is located within a microscope objective assembly.
The N-slit interferometer is an extension of the double-slit interferometer also known as Young's double-slit interferometer. One of the first known uses of N-slit arrays in optics was illustrated by Newton. In the first part of last century, Michelson described various cases of N-slit diffraction.
Length measurement is implemented in practice in many ways. The most commonly used approaches are the transit-time methods and the interferometer methods based upon the speed of light. For objects such as crystals and diffraction gratings, diffraction is used with X-rays and electron beams. Measurement techniques for three-dimensional structures very small in every dimension use specialized instruments such as ion microscopy coupled with intensive computer modeling.
A common-path interferometer is a class of interferometers in which the reference beam and sample beams travel along the same path. Examples include the Sagnac interferometer, Zernike phase-contrast interferometer, and the point diffraction interferometer. A common-path interferometer is generally more robust to environmental vibrations than a "double-path interferometer" such as the Michelson interferometer or the Mach–Zehnder interferometer. Although travelling along the same path, the reference and sample beams may travel along opposite directions, or they may travel along the same direction but with the same or different polarization.
As described here, white light interferometry is a non-contact optical method for surface height measurement on 3-D structures with surface profiles varying between tens of nanometers and a few centimeters. It is often used as an alternative name for coherence scanning interferometry in the context of areal surface topography instrumentation that relies on spectrally-broadband, visible-wavelength light.
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