2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: A Michelson-Morley Experiment for the Advanced Physics Lab
Abstract: The famous 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment measured the propagation of light in a rotating interferometer in the physics department at Case Western Reserve University.  For more than one hundred and twenty years, the data obtained from this experiment have been examined by many professionals interested in this experiment.  These investigations have raised numerous questions concerning the analysis and interpretation of the originally published data.  With interest in replicating this experiment, we have designed a new rotating interferometer of the same scale as the original experiment.  This apparatus is composed on a standard four foot by six foot optical breadboard supported on a cylindrical float inside a concentric cylindrical tank. The interferometer consist of sixteen adjustable front surface mirrors, an aluminized beamsplitter, and a compensation plate arranged in the same geometry as used in the original experiment.  The interferometer is rotated smoothly by the equivalent of a 2-meter diameter brushless motor.  The light source is a helium-neon laser and a wireless optical sensor.  Our students learn to align the optics, collect realtime data using a LabVIEW vi, and analyze their data using both original and current theories of operation of this instrument.  We will present the details of this experiment and preliminary data collected.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session IX - Effective Experiments Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Charles Rogers
Texas A&M University - Commerce
1104 Northwood Drive
Commerce, TX 75428
Phone: 903-886-3091
and Co-Presenter(s)
Richard Selvaggi