Phase and Frequency Shift in a Michelson Interferometer

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Scientific Paper
Title Phase and Frequency Shift in a Michelson Interferometer
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Author(s) Wolfgang Engelhardt
Keywords OCIS: Fundamental tests, Instruments, apparatus, and components common to the sciences, Interferometry, Phase measurement
Published 2011
Journal None
No. of pages 9

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Traditionally the outcome of Michelson's interference experiment has been interpreted as evidence against the existence of a luminiferous medium called ?ether?. Einstein, however, emphasized in 1920 that an ether must exist in spite of Michelson's null result. In this paper it is shown that a medium theory ? be it for light or for sound ? actually predicts the observed null result. Michelson expected a gradual fringe shift when his apparatus was turned in the ?ether wind?. Such a phase change would, however, require a temporary frequency change in one of the interferometer arms. Since wind does not alter the frequency in the interferometer, a phase shift cannot occur either.