American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several optical, acoustic, or radio frequency instruments that use interference phenomena between a reference wave and an experimental wave or between two parts of an experimental wave to determine wavelengths and wave velocities, measure very small distances and thicknesses, and calculate indices of refraction.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An instrument for the measurement of lengths by means of the phenomena resulting from the interference of two rays of light. The development of the interferometer is chiefly due to Michelson, but the instrument in its modern form is based upon an extension of the principle used by Jamin in his refractometer. The Jamin refractometer was designed for the measurement of the indexes of refraction of transparent bodies by means of the retardation of a ray of ght passing through a given thickness of the substance as indicated by its manner of interference with a ray not thus retarded. In this refractometer two plates of parallel glass of equal thickness, silvered on the back, are monnted in a vertical position with their faces parallel as shown in Fig. I. One of these plates, AA, makes an angle of 45° with the axis of the instrument; the second, BB, can be turned about a vertical axis and its distance from AA can be altered at will. A beam of light passes through the slit Sand a portion of it reflected from the first face of AA reaches the other plate BB. That portion of this ray which penetrates the second plate and is reflected from the silvered surface at the back (D) is shown in the diagram. That portion of the incident ray which is transmitted by the plate AA is similarly reflected from the silvered back (C) of that plate and likewise reaches BB, a portion of it being reflected from the first surface of that plate. This ray and the one reflected from the back of BB follow the same path after leaving the second plate. When the plates are parallel the two rays will have followed equal and similar paths and will be in the same phase. If now the plate BB is slightly displaced from its vertical position there will be a difference of phase between the rays and a series of horizontal dilfraction-fringes will appear. If a thin plate L of any refracting substance is placed in the path of one of the rays between AA and BB the retardation of the light in transmission through it will produce a shifting of the diffraction-fringes from which the index of refraction of the substance may be computed, if its thickness is known; or its thickness, provided the index is known. The instrument therefore may be used either as a refractometer or an interferometer.
- n. physics any of several instruments that use the interference of waves to determine wavelengths and wave velocities, determine refractive indices measure small distances, temperature changes, stresses, and many other useful measurements
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Physics) An instrument for measuring small movements, distances, or displacements by means of the interference of two beams of light; -- formerly also called also
refractometer, but that word now has a different meaning.
- n. any measuring instrument that uses interference patterns to make accurate measurements of waves
- From interfer(e) + -ometer. (Wiktionary)
“Michelson's interferometer is capable of an application no less significant than those which we have already considered.”
“The instrument in question, known as the interferometer, had previously yielded a remarkable series of results when applied in its various forms to the solution of fundamental problems.”
“Chu was one of the originators of the atom interferometer, which is based on his Nobel Prize-winning development of cold laser traps.”
“We have built an interferometer, which is a series of telescopes which are coordinated to operate as a single instrument on top of Mauna Kea.”
“In principle we could have a radio interferometer which is on the scale of the cis-lunar or even the inner solar system.”
“When complete, ALMA will have at least 66 high-tech antennas operating together as an "interferometer", working as a single, huge telescope probing the sky in the millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths of light.”
“The first two Alma antennas have been linked up as an "interferometer”
“That," he explained, as I continued to gaze, "is one of the latest forms of the spectroscope, known as the interferometer, with delicately ruled gratings in which power to resolve the straight, close lines in the spectrum is carried to the limit of possibility.”
“NASA has invested a lot of money in building its interferometer, so shouldn't we use that for awhile to search for dust disks around nearby stars instead of just shutting it down?”
“NASA contributed about $40M in construction costs and put about the same amount of money into developing the interferometer instrument that uses both telescopes.”
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