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Evaluating local inhomogeneities of the refractive index inside aerogel blocks to be used as Cherenkov radiator is important for a high energy physics experiment where angular resolution is crucial. Two approaches are described and compared. The first one is based on the bending of a laser beam induced by refractive index gradients along directions normal to the unperturbed optical path. The second method exploits the Cherenkov effect itself by shooting an ultra-relativistic collimated electron beam through different points of the aerogel surface. Local refractive index variations result in sizable differences in the Cherenkov photons distribution.
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