The Sagnac effect is a phase shift observed between two beams of light traversing in opposite directions the same closed path around a rotating object. A description of this experiment is obtained within the context of general relativity. In this context the effect provides an operational definition of rotation. An expression for the magnitude of the phase shift is derived under fairly general conditions. The general definition of rotation provided by this experiment is shown to reduce, in certain particular cases, to the usual definitions available. It is observed that the Sagnac effect represents a gravitational analog of the Aharanov-Bohm effect in electrodynamics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Mathematical Physics