Overview of the Fiber-Optic Michelson-Morley Experiment (FOMMX)

According to the Ether Theory of the 1800's, the motion of a hypothesized medium called Ether past the Earth affects the speed of light. In 1887 an experiment was done that shocked physicists because it was inconsistent with the Ether Theory, the dominant theory of that time. It is called the Michelson-Morley (M-M) Experiment.

Following this experimental rejection of the Ether Theory, relativity theories were developed to explain the 1887 M-M results. Beginning at the same time, M-M experiments were performed with various modifications. Almost all experimental results were consistent with relativity. Mainstream physicists would say that all valid experiments are consistent with relativity. By 1920, Relativity theory was generally accepted and Ether theory was discredited.

Based upon 100 years of such experimentation, I have identified two parameters that unexpectedly affect the M-M results. These parameters are characteristics of the light path within the apparatus of the M-M experiment.
  1. The Mass Density: Vacuum results are consistent with relativity; dense materials are generally not consistent.
  2. The Extent of the Light Path: Short light path results are consistent with special relativity; long light paths are generally not consistent with relativity.
The extent of the light path is defined here as straight line distance from one point in the light path to another. Conventional Michelson-Morley experiments used mirrors to direct the light path to retrace itself and multiply the small interferometric effect by the number of traces. That principle is useful and still applies here, although it is incomplete. 

The mass density and geometric extent can be thought of as the sensitivity of the interferometer.

I am preparing to test these conjectures by performing an experiment that is a variant of the Michelson-Morley experiment.

The objective of this experiment is to test the combination of mass density and light path extent most likely to contradict relativity in the M-M experiment.  Based on the above observations, this would have a dense material in the light path and a light path with a large extent.

This combination of parameters can be achieved by using optical fiber rather than the mirrors used in earlier M-M experiments.
  1. The core of an optical fiber, where the light travels, is typically glass. The mass density of glass is far larger than that of a lab vacuum or ambient air, which were used in most earlier M-M experiments.
  2. Optical fiber enables long light paths to be formed that are more immune to thermal and mechanical variations than mirror systems.
In addition, fiber optic systems do not require the demanding alignment process that is required by mirror systems. Finally, the fiber optic approach is far less expensive than the mirror approach. See: Component Cost for Experimental Apparatus.

This experiment does employ a fiber optic light path, as described. The straight arm length is 16 feet.  I call it a Fiber-Optic Michelson-Morley Experiment (FOMMX).

For more detail on the above argument, see FOMMX Grant Proposal to NSF.
For a full mainstream description of the Michelson-Morley experiment, see the Wikipedia.


1 comment:

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