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The American physicist Albert Michelson invented the optical
interferometer. The incoming beam is split into two beams by
the half-silvered mirror. Each sub-beam reflects off of another
mirror, which returns it to the half-silvered mirror, where the
two sub-beams recombine as shown. One of the reflecting mirrors
is movable by a sensitive micrometer device, allowing the path
length of the corresponding sub-beam, and hence the phase
relationship between the two sub-beams, to be altered.

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