The Sagnac effect: correct and incorrect explanations
Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Ulyanova 46, Nizhny Novgorod, 603000, Russian Federation
Different explanations for the Sagnac effect are discussed. It is shown that this effect is a consequence of the relativistic law of velocity composition and that it can also be explained adequately within the framework of general relativity. When certain restrictions on the rotational velocity are imposed, the Sagnac effect can be attributed to the difference in the time dilation (or phase change) of material particle wave functions in the scalar (or correspondingly vector) gravitational potential of the inertial forces in a rotating reference system for counterpropagating waves. It is also shown that all the nonrelativistic interpretations of the Sagnac effect, which are unfortunately sometimes found in scientific papers, monographs and textbooks, are wrong in principle, even though the results they yield are accurate up to relativistic corrections in some special cases.