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Michelson Interferometer with pointer 1.0 to 3.0 Class IIIa
Recreates the famous Michelson/Morely Experiment

Industrial Fiber Optics' Michelson Interferometer Kit is the first truly inexpensive kit that faithfully re-creates the time-honored Michelson Interferometer. The Michelson Interferometer was/is a classic device that splits a beam of monochromatic light into two parts that travel along different optical paths, then are merged to produce interference fringes.

The fringes shift or change shape noticeably whenever one of the optical components in either optical path moves, even almost imperceptibly. They also shift when the effective length of one optical path changes slightly with respect to that of the second. These shifts make it possible to measure ultra-small changes of a medium's index of refraction and microscopic movements of components as well as demonstrating the fundamental operating principle for items such as the laser ring gyroscope.

Before the advent of lasers with a visible beam, the alignment of interferometer components was very difficult to achieve under ordinary laboratory conditions. Now, using the brilliant red beam of an inexpensive Industrial Fiber Optics laser pointer, alignment can be achieved in just a few seconds.

  Michelson Interferometer with pointer

Part Number: 45-940 
Price: $109.00
Assembly & User's Guide

Interferometer kit is also available with the brighter 635 nm pointer which is 45-941.

Replacement Parts are available.

Kit comes with:

Part Number: IF 560
Class IIIa 650 nm Pointer

This kit includes: steel optical table, adjustable lens and mirror mounts, magnetic strips, beam splitter, small mirrors, short focal-length lens, laser pointer holder, laser pointer and instruction guide.

Sample exercises:

  • Measuring the diameter of a human hair
  • Measuring the coefficient of linear expansion of different metals
  • Detecting vibrations using the interferometer as a seismograph
  • Confirming the historic Michelson/Morely experiment that demonstrated the speed of light is not affected by the motions of planet earth through space


All manufacturers of lasers used in the United States, must conform to regulations administered by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDRH categorizes lasers as follows:

 Class 1

A laser or laser system which does not present a hazard to skin or eyes for any wavelength or exposure time. Exposure varies with wavelength. For ultraviolet, .2 to .4m exposure is less than from .8 or near IR, the exposure is < 200w. Consult CDRH regulations for specific information.

 Class 2

Any visible laser with an output less than 1 mW of power. Warning label requirements yellow caution label stating maximum output of 1 mW. Generally used as classroom lab lasers, supermarket scanners and laser pointers.

 Class 3a

Any visible laser with an output over 1 mW of power with a maximum output of 5 mW of power. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output of 5 mW. Also used as classroom lab lasers, in holography, laser pointers, leveling instruments, measuring devices and alignment equipment.

 Class 3b

Any laser with an output over 5 mW of power with a maximum output of 500 mW of power and all invisible lasers with an output up to 400 mW. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output. These lasers also require a key switch for operation and a 3.5-second delay when the laser is turned on. Used in many of the same applications as the Class IIIa when more power is required.

 Class 4

Any laser with an output over 500 mW of power. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output. These lasers are primarily used in industrial applications such as tooling, machining, cutting and welding. Most medical laser applications also require these high-powered lasers.

 CDRH Classification  Class IIIa
 Polarization  n/s
 Laser Emission Color  Red
 Laser Mode  TEM00
 Operating  Unit  Value
 Input Voltage  V 2 AAA
 Input Current  mA n/a
 Wavelength  nm  645
 Optical Output Power, Nominal  mW  1.0 to 3.0
 Power, (min/max)  mW  1.0 / 3.0
 Beam Diameter  mm  1.10
 Beam Divergence  mRad  1.20
 Digital Modulation  MHz n/a
 Analog Modulation  Hz to MHz n/a
 Mechanical  Unit  Value
 Operating Temperature  ° C  20 - 30
 Housing  cm  1.2 x 14.5