In this paper we outline a new all-optical non-contact technique for measurement of the surface tension of a Newtonian fluid. It is based on the accurate measurement of the spacing of the supernumerary fringes produced by the diffraction pattern of a laser beam transmitted through or reflected by a thin vertically-draining film of the liquid. We discuss the basic theory and application of this technique, and several issues which must be addressed before it can be used commercially.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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