Abstract

The vector theory of the ideal, planar, Mach-Zehnder interferometer is extended to include three-dimensional models based on geometry of the ellipsoid. Necessary and sufficient conditions for production of white light fringes are determined, and the path difference formula governing interference is developed as in the planar case. Expressions for fringe width and orientation are found and the effects of various source points determined. The problem of optimum source is found reducible to that already treated for the planar interferometer.

The effect of a thick plane-parallel plate on a parallel beam is studied. An actual thick plate interferometer is represented as an ideal, ellipsoidal interferometer with the effects of thick plates linearly superposed. Conditions are investigated for obtaining perfect plate compensation; these reduce the ellipsoidal interferometer to plane, parallelogram form. Tests for alignment of a thick plate instrument are suggested. Finally terms accounting for thick windows and compensating chambers are considered.

© 1953 Optical Society of America

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