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Development of an interferometer for measurement of the diffusion coefficient of miscible liquids

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Abstract

A common-path interferometer (CPI) system was developed to measure the diffusivity of transparent liquid pairs by real-time visualization of the concentration gradient profile. The CPI is an optical technique that can be used to measure changes in the gradient of the refractive index of transparent materials. The CPI is a shearing interferometer that shares the same optical path from a laser light source to the final imaging plane. Molecular diffusivity of liquids can be determined by use of physical relations between changes in the optical path length and the liquid phase properties. The data obtained by this interferometer are compared with similar results from other techniques. This demonstrates that the instrument is reliable for measurement of the diffusivity of miscible liquids and allows the system to be compact and robust. It can also be useful for studies in interface dynamics as well as other applications in a low-gravity environment.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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