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Differential interferometry employs two parallel laser beams with a small spatial offset (less than beam width) and frequency difference (1–2 MHz) using common optics and a single mixer for a heterodyne detection. The differential approach allows measurement of the electron density gradient, its fluctuations, as well as the equilibrium density distribution. This novel interferometry technique is immune to fringe skip errors and is particularly useful in harsh plasma environments. Accurate calibration of the beam spatial offset, accomplished by use of a rotating dielectric wedge, is required to enable broad application of this approach. Differential interferometry has been successfully used on the Madison Symmetric Torus reversed-field pinch plasma to directly measure fluctuation-induced transport along with equilibrium density profile evolution during pellet injection. In addition, by combining differential and conventional interferometry, both linear and nonlinear terms of the electron density fluctuation energy equation can be determined, thereby allowing quantitative investigation of the origin of the density fluctuations. The concept, calibration, and application of differential interferometry are presented.