The Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) is a ubiquitous optical tool that has been used for decades in a variety of applications. However, its design has undergone little to no updating throughout this time, and it remains expensive to install and difficult to scale. This limitation is due to the need for precise translation stages and mirrors to carefully direct the beams. Because of this, we propose the use of acousto-optic devices to simplify the design of the MZI and make it more accessible and scalable. By using acousto-optic modulators (AOMs), it is possible to direct the beams using radio frequency (RF) signals, produced and controlled by a computer, to create a delay between two collinear pulses. By altering the delay between these pulses, it should be possible to create precise interference that can be used in place of a conventional MZI. Some potential issues with this design are the interference from intermodulation modes created by the AOMs and the loss of diffraction efficiency in the AOMs due to signal modulation. In this experiment, we have setup our design of the AOM MZI using a double-pass multiplexed AOM system, and we discuss our methods of evaluating this design and measuring the delay created between the pulses. Although the delay measurement is a work in progress, we provide positive results for the diffraction efficiency of the AOM setup.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 11-29-2022


Thomas W. Jarvis

Mentor Department Affiliation

Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Physics and Astronomy

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Physics and Astronomy