American Journal of Physics
We report on the construction and characterization of a low-cost Mach-Zehnder optical interferometer in which quadrature signal detection is achieved by means of polarization control. The device incorporates a generic green laser pointer, home-built photodetectors, 3D-printed optical mounts, a circular polarizer extracted from a pair of 3D movie glasses, and a python-enabled microcontroller for analog-to-digital data acquisition. Components fit inside of a 12 ″ × 6 ″ space and can be assembled on a budget of less than US$500. The device has the potential to make quadrature interferometry accessible and affordable for instructors, students, and enthusiasts alike.
National Science Foundation
Physics and Astronomy
Tanner M. Melody, Krishna H. Patel, Peter K. Nguyen, and Christopher L. Smallwood. "Low-cost quadrature optical interferometer" American Journal of Physics (2023): 132-141. https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0110405
Available for download on Tuesday, January 23, 2024