Abstract

We present an analytic study of light propagation in a simple Michelson–Morley interferometer as observed by inertial observers to understand any connections among classical physics, optical physics, and special relativity. To that end, we develop coordinate transformations of wave propagation as observed in inertial frames (i.e., non-accelerating reference frames). We find that relativistic and other effects appear naturally as a result of finite light speed. Such effects include wavefront tilt relative to the normal of energy flow with the wavefront normal tilting relative to the Poynting vector.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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