Abstract

The precision of interferometry is directly linked to the fringe spacing of the recorded interferogram. Whereas all interferometric devices show a fringe spacing equal to a wavelength of the laser light we present a novel scheme of a two-beam interferometer exhibiting a fringe spacing reduced by a factor of 2; the direct detection of the beat signal is replaced with the monitoring of the fluorescence of a twofold degenerate atomic system resonant with the laser. The λ2 fringe spacing in the fluorescence signal is demonstrated with a hot sodium vapor excited by a broadband laser tuned to the D1 line. In the saturation regime, the dark fringes are expected to be extremely narrow, leading to the possibility of nanoscale displacement measurements or atom localization.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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