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Adventures in Optical Heterodyne Spectroscopy

Student Tom Wilhelm and Prof David Van Baak
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 3:45pm, Science Building 110

Light plus light can yield darkness -- this is the phenomenon of interference, and it is characteristic of all wave phenomenon. Ordinary Young's-experiments in optical interference use a single source of light, and Dirac's dictum is that in such experiments, "each photon interferes only with itself." So can there be interference between two physically-distinct sources of light? Indeed there can -- not only between two lasers, but even between a laser and an "incoherent" light source. This presentation will show you how such experiments are conducted, how they can be used for high-resolution spectroscopy, and how they can be further applied in physics, astronomy, and communications.

Interference Fringes


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