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Interferometer With Mercury Bearings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000034388D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cooper, L: AUTHOR

Abstract

A balance beam provides frictionless movement of an interferometer mirror, as described in the reference noted below. The arrangement only works in a vertical orientation and is not constrained in any other axis; i.e., it is essentially a pendulum in a magnetic field, counterbalanced by a weight. Any movement along the perferred axis can cause the mirror assembly to swing. The implementation described here is a piston-like slide that permits movement in only the preferred direction, controlled by a precision linear actuator. (Image Omitted) The piston-like slide is constrained in a cylinder by a pair of mercury beads around the periphery of the slide. The movable mirror is affixed to the bottom of the slide. The basic principle of operation is predicated on the fact that mercury will not wet certain materials, e.g.

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Interferometer With Mercury Bearings

A balance beam provides frictionless movement of an interferometer mirror, as described in the reference noted below. The arrangement only works in a vertical orientation and is not constrained in any other axis; i.e., it is essentially a pendulum in a magnetic field, counterbalanced by a weight. Any movement along the perferred axis can cause the mirror assembly to swing. The implementation described here is a piston-like slide that permits movement in only the preferred direction, controlled by a precision linear actuator.

(Image Omitted)

The piston-like slide is constrained in a cylinder by a pair of mercury beads around the periphery of the slide. The movable mirror is affixed to the bottom of the slide. The basic principle of operation is predicated on the fact that mercury will not wet certain materials, e.g., cast iron, glass, etc. The net effect is a virtually frictionless movement of the slide within a cylinder support. The system configuration is shown in Fig. 1. A typical Michelson interferometer is shown for completeness; however, only the movable slide mechanism with the precision actuator applies. Fig. 2 shows the movable slide and mirror in detail. The piston- like slide 1 is made smaller in diameter than the containing cylinder (not shown) of glass or cast iron. The compression screw 2 forces mercury 3 into the annuli 4 on the periphery of the slide. The mercury will form a non-wetting bead around the slide to...