Diffraction

# Diffraction - single slit To see why this is consider the...

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Diffraction We discussed diffraction in PY105 when we talked about sound waves; diffraction is the bending of waves that occurs when a wave passes through a single narrow opening. The analysis of the resulting diffraction pattern from a single slit is similar to what we did for the double slit. With the double slit, each slit acted as an emitter of waves, and these waves interfered with each other. For the single slit, each part of the slit can be thought of as an emitter of waves, and all these waves interfere to produce the interference pattern we call the diffraction pattern. After we do the analysis, we'll find that the equation that gives the angles at which fringes appear for a single slit is very similar to the one for the double slit, one obvious difference being that the slit width (W) is used in place of d, the distance between slits. A big difference between the single and double slits, however, is that the equation that gives the bright fringes for the double slit gives dark fringes for the
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Unformatted text preview: single slit. To see why this is, consider the diagram below, showing light going away from the slit in one particular direction. In the diagram above, let's say that the light leaving the edge of the slit (ray 1) arrives at the screen half a wavelength out of phase with the light leaving the middle of the slit (ray 5). These two rays would interfere destructively, as would rays 2 and 6, 3 and 7, and 4 and 8. In other words, the light from one half of the opening cancels out the light from the other half. The rays are half a wavelength out of phase because of the extra path length traveled by one ray; in this case that extra distance is : The factors of 2 cancel, leaving: The argument can be extended to show that : The bright fringes fall between the dark ones, with the central bright fringe being twice as wide, and considerably brighter, than the rest....
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