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A real-time interferometer (RTI) has been developed to monitor the bunch length of an electron beam in an accelerator. The RTI employs spatial autocorrelation, reflective optics, and a fast response pyro-detector array to obtain a real-time autocorrelation trace of the coherent radiation from an electron beam thus providing the possibility of online bunch-length diagnostics. A complete RTI system has been commissioned at the A0 photoinjector facility to measure sub-mm bunches at 13 MeV. Bunch length variation (FWHM) between 0.8 ps (∼0.24 mm) and 1.5 ps (∼0.45 mm) has been measured and compared with a Martin-Puplett interferometer and a streak camera. The comparisons show that RTI is a viable, complementary bunch length diagnostic for sub-mm electron bunches.