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The measurement of small dimensions and displacements can be made using optical methods, which use the principles of light wave interference. In general, light waves from a monochromatic light source are transmitted and reflected using a system of mirrors and lens; the intensity of the resulting beam of light is measured. (Figure 12) Depending on the phase shift of light waves the waves will add or subtract and the intensity of the measuring beam will vary. Displacement measurements can be affected by electronically comparing the intensity of the measuring beam to a reference beam intensity.


Figure 12 Optical measuring system [2]


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Support for the development of this module was provided by the National Science Foundation and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Please send questions or comments to Professor Ron Adrezin or Professor Daniel Raichel.