An efficient beam splitter for a Michelson interferometer can be made from a pair of prisms, using the process of frustrated total internal reflection. Although the phases and irradiances of the beams reflected and transmitted by the beam splitter depend on the polarization, the phase difference between the two interferometer beams vanishes for all polarizations and the transmittance can be made polarization insensitive by suitable design. The interferometer transmits radiant power within a wavelength band approximately two octaves wide, and rejects all other radiant power. The design, laboratory tests, and astronomical applications of an interferometer for the millimeter and submillimeter regions are discussed. An observation of the day-sky spectrum is presented.
© 1975 Optical Society of America
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