Basically, the Series Interferometer consists of three partially reflective surfaces separated by approximately equal optical distances. Some of the properties of this instrument are discussed, and some comparisons are drawn between the Series Interferometer and more complicated systems of similar versatility. Distinct low-order fringes are produced, and the instrument may be constructed to permit observation of white-light fringes. Background intensity is superimposed upon the fringe patterns obtained with parallel mirror setups, but can be eliminated by using slightly inclined mirror systems. Optimum performance for inclined mirror instruments yields a peak fringe intensity of 14.8 percent of the incident intensity. The fringe pattern is localized in or near the first mirror surface for most applications of the instrument. Experimental observations are presented to indicate the character of interference patterns obtained with normal and oblique incidence. The Series Interferometer is shown to be a compact, stable instrument capable of measuring minute variations of optical paths in a wide range of applications.
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