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A near-infrared laser phase contrast optical system incorporating a folded beam was developed in order to measure the distribution of density fluctuations in a high-temperature plasma. The coherent light source used was an yttrium aluminum garnet laser stabilized by a ring oscillator. The probe beam system separates and reflects the incident and exiting beams with a polarizer and a fully reflective mirror with a waveplate. This system was employed with a compact helical system to detect fluctuations at the plasma edge.