ThinFilms - Thin-Film Interference When any wave encounters...

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Thin-Film Interference When any wave encounters an interface between mediums, there is always a reflection backward from the interface whether or not part of the wave continues into the new medium. Consider a thin film of oil on the surface of a puddle of water, as is often seen in parking lots after rain showers. Compared to the air above or the water below, the layer of oil is very thin. There are two interfaces: air/oil and oil/water. Light coming nearly straight down will partially reflect off both interfaces. (Large angles of incidence would refract too much, ruining the effect.) For certain wavelengths of light, the two reflected rays will add constructively , reinforcing each other’s amplitudes. Since the reflected ray in the oil had to traverse its thickness l twice, the condition for such constructive interference is 2 l = N λ , where N is any integer greater than zero. This equation ensures that the phase shift between the two
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course PHYS 131 taught by Professor Tibbets during the Spring '11 term at Cuyamaca College.

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