Interferometry technique because it measures small distances to a

is the analysis of interference patterns which can be used to identify
characteristics of the original waves, for instance to calculate wavelength. The
principles involve splitting a beam of visible light or another type of
electromagnetic radiation (i.e UV light) by a beam splitter. Then the recombining
waves super-impose each other either constructively or destructively to produce
an interference pattern.

Why is interferometry used in science?

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Interferometry is useful in science as technique because
it measures small distances to a high level of accuracy by comparing beams of
light. This is particularly useful in geology and topography, where precise
maps of surfaces can be made. Other uses include astronomy where signals from
telescopes are combined using interferometers which therefore allow deeper penetration
of light into space.1 Similarly interferometers can also be used in quantum
mechanics and fibre optics.

Interferometry and preparing for natural disaster

One of interferometry’s biggest new sectors is the
analysis of the earth’s surface. The use of radar interferometry allows scientists
track changes, from space, to places on earth which are most susceptible to
natural and manmade disasters.  Radar
interferometry uses the same basic principles of the Michelson Interferometer
but instead of separating the light waves by the distance travelled, their original
starting position is altered. This idea is similar to the Young’s
Interferometer where the waves travel from a source through two slits to
produce an interference pattern on a screen. In radar interferometry, multiple
radar images are created of the wave’s interaction with the ground and then can
be overlapped to give an interference pattern of the surface (Figure 1). Over time these images can
be layered to reveal ground movements and any changes in the interference pattern
observed. The characteristics of these radar images can then be used to
determine particular structures and assess local risk. One such active project,
the European initiative Prothego (PROTection of European cultural HEritage from
Ge-O-hazards), monitors changes to the geology of the earth’s surface on world
heritage sites and areas of high risk. For instance, the program tracked the
sinking of ground above the Jubilee line in Central London after the line was extended
(Figure 2).  This technology allows a detection
of a few millimeters per year. The technology is allowing govenments who are involved
in the program to identify long term geological issues  and to put meausres in place to prevent potential