LIGO Document T0900393-v1

The Magnetic Michelson Interferometer

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T - Technical notes
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This Educational Michelson Interferometer communicates the design principles of the LIGO Observatory and provides a simple demonstration of the wave nature of light. It is also of historical significance as a derivation of the instrument was used by Michelson and Morley in their search for the nonexistent "luminiferous aether". There are many ways to build a simple interferometer; this document is intended as a recipe for a basic design inspired by "Build Your Own Michelson Interferometer" (LIGO, accessed June 11th, 2009). The primary difference between these two designs is that the Magnetic Michelson's use of steel plate and magnets allow it to be taken apart and re-assembled on a regular basis by new sets of students, whereas Build Your Own describes a permanent setup.
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