Michelson A. A. Light waves and their uses (1903)

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Light Waves axd Their Uses

when any current is passing about the electro-magnet. When the current is passing in a certain direction, the velocity of rotation of the particles moving, say counter-clockwise, is increased. Hence the period of vibration is smaller; I. e., the number of vibrations, or the frequency, is greater. In this case there will be a shifting toward the blue end of the spectrum by an amount corresponding to the amount of the acceleration. Those particles which are rotating in an opposite direction, i. r\, clockwise, will be retarded, the frequency will be less, and the spectral lines will be shifted toward the red. These two shiftings would account, then, for the double line. It is further clear that those vibrations which occurred in planes parallel to the lines of force of the' magnetic field would be unaltered. These vibrations would then produce the middle line, which is not shifted from its position by the magnetic field.

Again, if we are viewing the light in a direction at right angles to the lines of force of the field, the vibrations of those particles which are affected by the field would have no components parallel to the field. If the particles are revolving in a plane perpendicular to the field, then, when viewed in this direction, they would appear to be moving only up and down; i. e., they would send out plane polarized light whose vibrations are vertical. These two vertical vibrations form the two outer lines of the triplet, and it can be shown that the light is plane polarized by passing it through a polarizer. Those particles which are vibrating horizontally do not have their period of vibration altered by the field. Consequently we get a single line whose position in the spectrum is not changed, and wThicli is plane polarized in a plane at right angles to that of the other two.

When this second announcement of Zeeman appeared, it seemed worth while to repeat the experiments with the

Action of Magnetism on Light Waves 115

interferometer, especially as it was pointed out that probably the reason why a single or a double line appeared, instead of a triple line, was because part of the light corresponding to the middle line was cut off by the reflection from the separating plate of the interferometer. The light thus reflected is polarized, and most of the light which should have formed the central image is thus cut off. It was therefore determined to repeat these experiments under

such conditions that we could be perfectly sure that light which reached the interferometer vibrated in only one plane. To accomplish this it is necessary merely to introduce a polarizer into the path of the light.

Fig. 82 represents the arrangement of the experiment with the interferometer. The source of light, instead of being sodium in a Bunsen flame, is vapor in a vacuum tube, illuminated by an electric discharge. The capillary part of the tube is placed between the poles of the magnet.

The light is first passed through an ordinary spectroscope, so that there is formed at s a spectrum, any part of which we may examine. The slit at 8 allows only one radiation to pass into the interferometer. Thus, if we examine cadmium light, we may allow the red to pass through, or the green, or the blue. The light is made parallel by a lens and then passes into the interferometer. The arrangement for