UBC Undergraduate Research

Measuring the Change in the Refractive Index of Water with a Michelson Interferometer Tan, Andy


The refractive index n of a substance varies as a function of temperature. A water-containing cell was placed in one leg of a Michelson interferometer, producing fringe shifts (laser interference patterns) on a screen as the water cooled. By counting the fringe shifts for each change in temperature of 1°C, a set of values for n could be created. These values agreed with values of n found in two separate papers to within 2 x 10⁻⁵.

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