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Chapter 3:
Interference Visualized by Vector Diagrams
Analysis of the optical interaction in two- and multiple-beam Fizeau interferometers can be presented graphically using a qualitative vector representation in polar coordinates. Consider the interferometer operated in reflection, shown in Fig. 3.1, which provides the geometrical and physical constants of the interferometer. Perfectly flat surfaces and a perfectly plane wavefront entering the interferometer are assumed. A series of multiply reflected wavefronts is obtained from this interferometer in the usual manner. Let these wavefronts be represented by vectors E0, E1, E2,. . .En. Vector E0 refers to the wave reflected at the transmission surface. Vectors E1 and E2 represent the waves reflected by the interferometer cavity. With vector E0 and SnEn, one observes reflection fringes; with SnEn alone, one observes transmission-like fringes. Both sets of fringes are topographically equivalent and differ only in contrast.
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