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Standard Measurement in Wavelengths of Light

Nature volume 82, pages 338341 (20 January 1910) | Download Citation



THE employment of the principle of the interference of two rays of monochromatic light, derived from the same source, one retarded behind the other by having to traverse a longer path, for the production of rectilinear interference bands constituting a scale of half-wave-lengths, has now been brought to such perfection that this highly refined scale may be used for the measurement of short distances or small movements of any description whatsoever. The accuracy is absolute to the tenth part of a scale division, the twentieth part of a wave-length of light, and is actually measurable with the most ordinary micrometer to the one-hundredth of a scale division, corresponding to the two-hundredth part of a wave-length. Now a wave-length of even the grossest radiations employed, those of red light, derived from either cadmium vapour (0.0006438 mm.) or hydrogen (0.0006562 mm.), is a forty-thousandth of an inch, so that the measurable unit is an eight-millionth part of an inch.

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