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# Diffraction and Interference

INTERFERENCE Interference refers to a situation when two or more waves overlap in space.
Principle of Superposition when two or more waves overlap, the resultant displacement at any point and any instant is found by adding the instantaneous displacements that would be produced at any point by the individual waves if each were present alone.

Interference is best observed when sinusoidal waves of the same frequency f and wavelength are combined.

Sinusoidal waves of frequency f and wavelength spreading out from a source S1 in all directions. The wave fronts move outward at the wave speed v = f.

CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE Consider two identical sources, S1 and S2, of monochromatic light (light of single color). The waves produced by the sources have the same amplitude, the same wavelength, same frequency, and are permanently in-phase. The two sources are said to be coherent .
Point a in the figure is equidistant from S1 and S2. Waves from the two sources are in-phase when they arrive at a. The distance from S2 to point b is exactly two wavelengths greater than the distance from S1 to point b. Waves from the two sources are in-phase when they arrive at b.

CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: When waves from two or more sources arrive at a point in-phase, the amplitude of the resulting wave is the sum of the amplitudes of individual waves. If r1 and r2 are the respective distances of S1 and S2 from point b, constructive interference will occur if the path difference r2 r1 is an integral multiple of the wavelength. r2 r1 = m (m = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...)

DESTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: When waves from two or more sources arrive at a point half wavelength out-of-phase, the amplitude of the resulting wave is the difference of the amplitudes of individual waves. The path difference of the waves from S2 and S1 at point c is r2 r1 = -2.50, which is a half-integral number of wavelengths. Waves from the two sources are half-wavelength out-of-phase when they arrive at c. r2 r1 = (m + ) (m = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...)

## TWO-SOURCE INTERFERENCE: Youngs Experiment

A monochromatic light source is shone on a narrow slit So (about 1 m wide). The light emerging from So falls on a screen with two other slits, S1 and S2, equidistant from So.

## TWO-SOURCE INTERFERENCE: Youngs Experiment

The light coming from the two slits are always in-phase and are therefore coherent. A screen is placed at a distance R from the two slits.

## TWO-SOURCE INTERFERENCE: Youngs Experiment

The light coming from the two slits form an interference pattern on the screen. The pattern is an alternating dark and bright bands of light. The bright bands are where the two light sources interfere constructively and the dark bands where they interfere destructively.

If the distance from the slits to the screen R is much greater than the distance between the slits d, the lines from the two slits are very nearly parallel when they strike the screen.

The difference in path length is given by r2 r1 = d sin where is the angle between the line from the slits to screen and the normal to the plane of the slits.

## The dark regions on the screen occur at d sin = (m + ) (m = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...)

The pattern formed on the screen, alternating dark and bright bands, is called interference fringes . These are parallel to the slits. The center of the pattern (equidistant from the two slits) is a bright band corresponding to m = 0.

Position of Bright Fringes: d sin = m sin = m/d For very small values of : sin = tan = y / R (m = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...)

ym

( m ) =R
d

## Position of Dark Fringes:

1 m + 2 ym = R d

(m = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...)

EXAMPLE 1

EXAMPLE 1

EXAMPLE 2

EXAMPLE 3

## 2nd dark line: m = 1

y2 = R

( 1.5 )
d

( 1.5 )500 nm = 0.75 m = 1.25 mm 0.45 mm ( 2.5 )500 nm = 0.75 m = 2.08mm 0.45 mm
y 3 - y 2 = 0.83mm

y3 = R

( 2.5 )
d

EXAMPLE 4

y1

d 0.200mm

y1

## ( 0.5) = (4.00m) (0.5)400nm = 4.00mm =R

d 0.200mm y1 y1 = 8.00mm

EXAMPLE 4

(b) The 1st order bright fringe is between the 1st and second dark lines

EXAMPLE 5

For red: m =1

y1red
For blue: m =1

y 1blue

EXAMPLE 6

## d sin 0.0116mm m= = = 19.82 585nm 19(585nm) = sin = 73.4o 0.0116mm

1

Diffraction
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. It is described as the apparent bending of waves around small obstacles and the spreading out of waves past small openings.

When a monochromatic light strikes a barrier that has an aperture or edge, interference patterns are formed. This is called diffraction . Huygens Principle:

Every point on a wave front can be considered as the source of secondary wavelets that spread out in all directions with a speed equal to the speed of propagation of the wave.

SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION Consider a monochromatic light shining on a single slit of width a and let a screen be at a certain distance x from the slit.

Consider two strips in the slit, one just below the top edge of the slit and one at the center. The path difference to point P is (a/2) sin where a is the slit width and is the angle between the normal to the slit and the line from center of slit to P.

If this path difference is equal to /2, then light from the two strips arrive at point P half wavelength apart destructive interference resulting in a dark fringe.

Light from every strip in the top half of the slit cancels out the corresponding light at the bottom half of the slit.
Destructive interference (dark fringes) occur whenever or (a/2) sin = (/2) sin = /a

The sign means that there are symmetrical dark fringes above and below point O.

The upper fringe, >0, occurs at point P where light from the bottom half of the slit travels /2 farther to P than does light from the top half. The lower fringe, <0, occurs at point P where light from the top half of the slit travels /2 farther to P than does light from the bottom half. The slit may also be divided into quarters, sixths, and so on to show that a dark fringe occurs whenever

2 3 4 sin = , , ,... a a a

Position of Dark Fringes in Single-Slit Diffraction: sin = (m ) / a (m = 1, 2, 3, ...) For very small values of : sin = tan = y / x
m= 2 m= 1

ym = x (m /a) (m = 1, 2, 3, ...)

m = -1 m = -2

EXAMPLE 7

EXAMPLE 7

EXAMPLE 8

EXAMPLE 8

EXAMPLE 9

EXAMPLE 9

EXAMPLE 10

Coherent light that contains two wavelengths 670 nm (red) and 470 nm (blue) passes through two parallel slits separated by 0.60 mm. The interference pattern is observed on a screen 90.0 cm from the slits. In the resulting interference pattern, find the distance between the 3rd bright fringe above the central bright fringe for red and the 3rd dark fringe below the central bright fringe for blue.
3rd BF above CBF for red: 3rd DF below CBF for blue:

y3BFred

y3DFblue

d 0.60mm

## y3BFred y3DFblue = 3.02mm (1.76mm) = 4.78mm

EXAMPLE 11

Coherent light of wavelength 670 nm passes through two parallel slits separated by 0.60 mm. The interference pattern is observed on a screen 90.0 cm from the slits. If the width of each slit is 0.15 mm, what is the distance (from the central bright fringe) of the first missing fringe.
A interference fringe will disappear from an interference pattern when it coincides with a diffraction dark fringe.

mI mD R =x d a

mI d 0.60mm = = =4 mD a 0.15mm

mI = 4mD

mI (4)(670nm) y=R = 0.900m = 4.02mm d 0.60mm mD (1 670nm) )( y=x = 0.900m = 4.02mm a 0.15mm