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14.1 Superposition of Waves .................................................................................... 14-2 14.2 Young’s Double-Slit Experiment ..................................................................... 14-4 Example 14.1: Double-Slit Experiment................................................................ 14-7 14.3 Intensity Distribution ........................................................................................ 14-8 Example 14.2: Intensity of Three-Slit Interference ............................................ 14-11 14.4 Diffraction....................................................................................................... 14-13 14.5 Single-Slit Diffraction..................................................................................... 14-13 Example 14.3: Single-Slit Diffraction ................................................................ 14-15 14.6 Intensity of Single-Slit Diffraction ................................................................. 14-16 14.7 Intensity of Double-Slit Diffraction Patterns.................................................. 14-19 14.8 Diffraction Grating ......................................................................................... 14-20 14.9 Summary......................................................................................................... 14-22 14.10 Appendix: Computing the Total Electric Field............................................. 14-23 14.11 Solved Problems ........................................................................................... 14-26 14.11.1 14.11.2 14.11.3 14.11.4 14.11.5 14.11.6 Double-Slit Experiment ......................................................................... 14-26 Phase Difference .................................................................................... 14-27 Constructive Interference....................................................................... 14-28 Intensity in Double-Slit Interference ..................................................... 14-29 Second-Order Bright Fringe .................................................................. 14-30 Intensity in Double-Slit Diffraction ....................................................... 14-30

14.12 Conceptual Questions ................................................................................... 14-33 14.13 Additional Problems ..................................................................................... 14-33 14.13.1 14.13.2 14.13.3 14.13.4 14.13.5 14.13.6 Double-Slit Interference......................................................................... 14-33 Interference-Diffraction Pattern............................................................. 14-33 Three-Slit Interference ........................................................................... 14-34 Intensity of Double-Slit Interference ..................................................... 14-34 Secondary Maxima ................................................................................ 14-34 Interference-Diffraction Pattern............................................................. 14-35

14-1

**Interference and Diffraction
**

14.1 Superposition of Waves

Consider a region in space where two or more waves pass through at the same time. According to the superposition principle, the net displacement is simply given by the vector or the algebraic sum of the individual displacements. Interference is the combination of two or more waves to form a composite wave, based on such principle. The idea of the superposition principle is illustrated in Figure 14.1.1.

(a) (b)

(c)

(d)

**Figure 14.1.1 Superposition of waves. (b) Constructive interference, and (c) destructive interference. Suppose we are given two waves,
**

ψ 1 ( x, t ) = ψ 10 sin( k1 x ± ω1t + φ1 ),

ψ 2 ( x, t ) = ψ 20 sin(k2 x ± ω2t + φ2 )

(14.1.1)

**the resulting wave is simply
**

ψ ( x, t ) = ψ 10 sin(k1 x ± ω1t + φ1 ) +ψ 20 sin(k2 x ± ω2t + φ2 )

(14.1.2)

The interference is constructive if the amplitude of ψ ( x, t ) is greater than the individual ones (Figure 14.1.1b), and destructive if smaller (Figure 14.1.1c). As an example, consider the superposition of the following two waves at t = 0 :

ψ 1 ( x) = sin x,

The resultant wave is given by

ψ 2 ( x) = 2sin ⎜ x +

⎛ ⎝

π ⎞

⎟ 4 ⎠

(14.1.3)

14-2

ψ ( x) = ψ 1 ( x) + ψ 2 ( x) = sin x + 2sin ⎜ x +

where we have used

⎛ ⎝

π ⎞

⎟ = 1 + 2 sin x + 2 cos x 4 ⎠

(

)

(14.1.4)

**sin(α + β ) = sin α cos β + cos α sin β and sin(π / 4) = cos(π / 4) = 2 / 2 . Further use of the identity
**

⎡ ⎤ a b a sin x + b cos x = a 2 + b 2 ⎢ sin x + cos x ⎥ 2 2 a 2 + b2 ⎣ a +b ⎦ = a 2 + b 2 [ cos φ sin x + sin φ cos x ] = a 2 + b 2 sin( x + φ ) with

(14.1.5)

(14.1.6)

φ = tan −1 ⎜ ⎟ a

then leads to

⎛b⎞ ⎝ ⎠

(14.1.7)

ψ ( x) = 5 + 2 2 sin( x + φ )

(14.1.8)

where φ = tan −1 ( 2 /(1 + 2)) = 30.4° = 0.53 rad. The superposition of the waves is depicted in Figure 14.1.2.

Figure 14.1.2 Superposition of two sinusoidal waves.

We see that the wave has a maximum amplitude when sin( x + φ ) = 1 , or x = π / 2 − φ . The interference there is constructive. On the other hand, destructive interference occurs at x = π − φ = 2.61 rad , where sin(π ) = 0 .

14-3

For example. This means that the plane waves from the sources must maintain a constant phase relation. A monochromatic light source is incident on the first screen which contains a slit S0 .3 Incoherent light source 14.1. The emerging light then arrives at the second screen which has two parallel slits S1 and S2. Thus. The schematic diagram of the double-slit experiment is shown in Figure 14. (ii) The light must be monochromatic. no interference pattern is observed.2 Young’s Double-Slit Experiment In 1801 Thomas Young carried out an experiment in which the wave nature of light was demonstrated.2. The bright bands (fringes) correspond to interference maxima. if two waves are completely out of phase with φ = π .1 Young’s double-slit experiment. which serve as the sources of coherent light.2. This means that the light consists of just one wavelength λ = 2π / k . The light waves emerging from the two slits then interfere and form an interference pattern on the viewing screen. this phase difference must not change with time. Figure 14. 14-4 .1. the incident light must satisfy two conditions: (i) The light sources must be coherent. and the dark band interference minima. Light emitted from an incandescent lightbulb is incoherent because the light consists o waves of different wavelengths and they do not maintain a constant phase relationship.In order to form an interference pattern. Figure 14.

3.3 Double-slit experiment Consider light that falls on the screen at a point P a distance y from the point O that lies on the screen a perpendicular distance L from the double-slit system.2 Constructive interference (a) at P.2. Figure 14.2.1) (14. This extra distance is called the path difference.2 shows the ways in which the waves could combine to interfere constructively or destructively.2. ⎛d ⎞ ⎛π ⎞ ⎛d⎞ r12 = r 2 + ⎜ ⎟ − dr cos ⎜ − θ ⎟ = r 2 + ⎜ ⎟ − dr sin θ ⎝2⎠ ⎝2 ⎠ ⎝2⎠ and ⎛d ⎞ ⎛π ⎞ ⎛d⎞ r2 2 = r 2 + ⎜ ⎟ − dr cos ⎜ + θ ⎟ = r 2 + ⎜ ⎟ + dr sin θ ⎝2⎠ ⎝2 ⎠ ⎝2⎠ Subtracting Eq.1) from Eq.2) 14-5 . (14.3. The two slits are separated by a distance d. The light from slit 2 will travel an extra distance δ = r2 − r1 to the point P than the light from slit 1.2.2. and (b) at P1. The geometry of the double-slit interference is shown in the Figure 14. we have. Figure 14. (142.2.2.Figure 14. (c) Destructive interference at P2.2) yields 2 2 2 2 (14.2. using the law of cosines. From Figure 14.

5) where m is called the order number. 14-6 .2. the waves will be 180° out of phase at P. and the path difference becomes δ = r2 − r1 ≈ d sin θ (14. The condition for destructive interference is given by δ = d sin θ = ⎜ m + ⎟ λ . resulting in destructive interference with a dark fringe on the screen. (constructive interference) (14. (destructive interference) 2 ⎠ ⎛ ⎝ 1⎞ (14.3) In the limit L d . m = 0.. the two rays r1 and r2 are essentially treated as being parallel (see Figure 14.e. assuming L d. we show how a path difference of δ = λ / 2 ( m = 0 ) results in a destructive interference and δ = λ ( m = 1 ) leads to a constructive interference. the sum of r1 and r2 may be approximated by r1 + r2 ≈ 2r . Figure 14. ± 1. m = 0. when δ is equal to an odd integer multiple of λ / 2 . ..4) In this limit. The zeroth-order (m = 0) maximum corresponds to the central bright fringe at θ = 0 . ± 3. ± 2. the distance to the screen is much greater than the distance between the slits..6) In Figure 14.2..2..2. . On the other hand.r2 2 − r12 = (r2 + r1 )(r2 − r1 ) = 2dr sin θ (14. and the first-order maxima ( m = ±1 ) are the bright fringes on either side of the central fringe. Constructive interference occurs when δ is zero or an integer multiple of the wavelength λ: δ = d sin θ = mλ . ± 3. i.2.5.4).2.4 Path difference between the two rays. ± 1.2. ± 2. Whether the two waves are in phase or out of phase is determined by the value of δ .

in addition to L d . (14. (a) What is the path difference δ for the rays from the two slits arriving at point P? (b) Express this path difference in terms of λ . we shall also assume that the distance between the slits is much greater than the wavelength of the monochromatic light. To locate the positions of the fringes as measured vertically from the central point O.8) (14.6). d = 0.9) Suppose in the double-slit arrangement.2.Figure 14.5) and (14.1: Double-Slit Experiment λL d (14. (b) Constructive interference. respectively. the positions of the bright and dark fringes are.2. d λ . so that sin θ ≈ tan θ = y L (14.2. and y = 2.2. a minimum.2. (c) Does point P correspond to a maximum. The conditions imply that the angle θ is very small. yb = m and 1 ⎞ λL ⎛ yd = ⎜ m + ⎟ 2⎠ d ⎝ Example 14. or an intermediate condition? Solutions: 14-7 .7) Substituting the above expression into the constructive and destructive interference conditions given in Eqs. λ = 833nm.00 cm .5 (a) Destructive interference.2.150 mm. L = 120 cm.

3.1.50 × 10−4 m ) ⎝L⎠ (b) From the answer in part (a).50×10−6 m = ≈ 3. On the other hand.1 Double-slit interference The total instantaneous electric field E at the point P on the screen is equal to the vector sum of the two sources: E = E1 + E2 .33 ×10−7 m or δ = 3. When L make the approximation sin θ ≈ tan θ = y / L .1) Taking the time average of S. the intensity at point P is a maximum. (c) Since the path difference is an integer multiple of the wavelength. y . 14.00 λ 8.00λ .(a) The path difference is given by δ = d sin θ .2) 14-8 . Thus.3.20 m δ 2.3. the Poynting flux S is proportional to the square of the total field: 2 S ∝ E 2 = (E1 + E2 ) 2 = E12 + E2 + 2E1 ⋅ E2 (14. the intensity I of the light at P may be obtained as: 2 I = S ∝ E12 + E2 + 2 E1 ⋅ E2 (14. Figure 14.00 × 10−2 m = 2. we have ⎛ y⎞ 2. θ is small and we can δ ≈ d ⎜ ⎟ = (1.50 ×10−6 m 1.3 Intensity Distribution Consider the double-slit experiment shown in Figure 14.3.

On the other hand.6) (14.3. we have chosen the point P to be the origin.3.4) which is four times greater than the intensity due to a single source.3. This then implies δ φ = λ 2π or (14. Since the wave from slit 2 has traveled an extra distance δ to P .7) (14. and E1 ⋅ E2 ∝ − I1 .3) For coherent sources. E1 = −E2 . For simplicity.8) 14-9 . For constructive interference. a path difference of δ = λ would correspond to a phase shift of φ = 2π . and the total intensity becomes I = I1 − 2 I1 + I1 = 0 as expected.5) respectively. since there is no definite phase relation between E1 and E2 . the cross term vanishes. when destructive interference takes place. for constructive interference. Let the electric field components of the wave from slits 1 and 2 at P be given by E1 = E0 sin ω t and E2 = E0 sin(ω t + φ ) (14.3. In fact. so that the kx dependence in the wave function is eliminated. and the intensity due to the incoherent source is simply the sum of the two individual intensities: I inc = I1 + I 2 (14. where the waves from both slits are assumed have the same amplitude E0 . the cross term is non-zero. For incoherent light sources. and the resulting intensity is I = 4 I1 (14.The cross term 2 E1 ⋅ E2 represents the correlation between the two light waves.3. E2 has an extra phase shift φ relative to E1 from slit 1. Suppose that the waves emerged from the slits are coherent sinusoidal plane waves.3. E1 = E2 .

3.φ= 2π λ δ= 2π λ d sin θ (14. the above expression becomes ⎛ π d sin θ ⎞ I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ λ ⎟ ⎝ ⎠ (14.14) Figure 14.3. (14.11) The intensity I is proportional to the time average of the square of the total electric field: φ⎞ ⎛φ ⎞ ⎛ ⎛φ ⎞ I ∝ E 2 = 4 E0 2 cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ sin 2 ⎜ ωt + ⎟ = 2 E0 2 cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ 2⎠ ⎝2⎠ ⎝ ⎝2⎠ or ⎛φ ⎞ I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ ⎝ 2⎠ (14.3.3.3.2 Intensity as a function of d sin θ / λ For small angle θ .13) where I 0 is the maximum intensity on the screen. Upon substituting Eq.9) Assuming that both fields point in the same direction. (14.10) (14. the total electric field may be obtained by using the superposition principle discussed in Section 13.1: φ⎞ ⎛φ ⎞ ⎛ E = E1 + E2 = E0 [sin ωt + sin(ωt + φ ) ] = 2 E0 cos ⎜ ⎟ sin ⎜ ωt + ⎟ 2⎠ ⎝2⎠ ⎝ where we have used the trigonometric identity ⎛α + β sin α + sin β = 2sin ⎜ ⎝ 2 ⎞ ⎛α − β ⎞ ⎟ cos ⎜ ⎟ ⎠ ⎝ 2 ⎠ (14.3.3.4.3.12) (14.3.5) the intensity can be rewritten as ⎛πd I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ ⎝ λL ⎞ y⎟ ⎠ (14.4).2.15) 14-10 . using Eq.

3. each separated by a distance d from its neighbor.17) Using the trigonometric identity ⎛α − β sin α + sin β = 2 cos ⎜ ⎝ 2 the sum of E1 and E3 is E1 + E3 = E0 ⎡sin ω t + sin (ωt + 2φ ) ⎤ = 2 E0 cos φ sin(ω t + φ ) ⎣ ⎦ The total electric field at the point P on the screen is 14-11 (14.18) .3 Three-slit interference.16) where I 0 is the maximum intensity associated with the primary maxima.3. Figure 14.3. (b) What is the ratio of the intensities of the primary and secondary maxima? Solutions: (a) Let the three waves emerging from the slits be E1 = E0 sin ω t . but a constant phase difference φ = 2π d sin θ / λ .3.3.19) ⎞ ⎛α + β ⎞ ⎟ sin ⎜ ⎟ ⎠ ⎝ 2 ⎠ (14. The waves have the same amplitude E0 and angular frequency ω .3. E2 = E0 sin (ω t + φ ) . as shown in Figure 14.Example 14.2: Intensity of Three-Slit Interference Suppose a monochromatic coherent source of light passes through three parallel slits.3. (a) Show that the intensity is I I= 0 9 ⎡ ⎛ 2π d sin θ ⎢1 + 2 cos ⎜ λ ⎝ ⎣ ⎞⎤ ⎟⎥ ⎠⎦ 2 (14. E3 = E0 sin (ω t + 2φ ) (14.

E = E1 + E2 + E3 = 2 E0 cos φ sin(ωt + φ ) + E0 sin(ω t + φ ) = E0 (1 + 2cos φ )sin(ω t + φ ) where φ = 2π d sin θ / λ . The intensity ratio is I / I 0 = 1/ 9 .. and occurs when cos φ = −1/ 2 .3. ± 2. which gives I / I 0 =1 .23) (b) The interference pattern is shown in Figure 14.21) where we have used sin 2 (ω t + φ ) = 1/ 2 .20) E02 2 = (1 + 2 cos φ ) 2 (14. In addition. I (1 + 2 cos φ ) = I0 9 which implies I I ⎡ 2 ⎛ 2π d sin θ ⎞ ⎤ I = 0 (1 + 2 cos φ ) = 0 ⎢1 + 2 cos ⎜ ⎟⎥ 9 9⎣ λ ⎝ ⎠⎦ 2 2 (14. 14-12 . there are also secondary maxima which are located at cos φ = −1 . The condition for primary maxima is cos φ = +1 .3.22) (14. The condition implies φ = (2m + 1)π .3..3. The intensity is proportional to E 2 : I ∝ E (1 + 2 cos φ ) sin (ωt + φ ) 2 0 2 2 (14. The maximum intensity I 0 is attained when cos φ = 1 .4. m = 0. Thus. or d sin θ / λ = (m + 1/ 2). ± 1. we see that the minimum intensity is zero. From the figure.3..

The pattern is called a diffraction pattern.1 illustrates the propagation of the wave based on Huygens’s principle.2a). In this case. 14-13 . light waves incident on two slits will spread out and exhibit an interference pattern in the region beyond (Figure 14. Figure 14.4. all light rays that emerge from the slit are approximately parallel to each other.4. a convex lens is placed between the slit and screen to provide convergence of the light rays.4. (b) Absence of diffraction pattern if the paths of the light wave are straight lines. we have assumed the width of the slits to be so small that each slit is a point source. We shall restrict ourselves to a special case of diffraction called the Fraunhofer diffraction. The new wavefront is the surface tangent to all the secondary spherical waves. In this section we shall take the width of slit to be finite and see how Fraunhofer diffraction arises. The phenomenon of diffraction can be understood using Huygens’s principle which states that Every unobstructed point on a wavefront will act a source of secondary spherical waves.2 (a) Spreading of light leading to a diffraction pattern.2b). Figure 14.4. waves also exhibit another property – diffraction.4. According to Huygens’s principle. For a diffraction pattern to appear on the screen. 14.5 Single-Slit Diffraction In our consideration of the Young’s double-slit experiments. if no bending occurs and the light wave continue to travel in straight lines.4 Diffraction In addition to interference. then no diffraction pattern would be observed (Figure 14. which is the bending of waves as they pass by some objects or through an aperture.14. On the other hand.1 Propagation of wave based on Huygens’s principle. Figure 14.

and 51 to 100 in the upper half. as well as any pair that are a distance a / 2 apart. m = ±1. ± 3. For example. .2 illustrates the intensity distribution for a single-slit diffraction. Source 1 and source 51 are separated by a distance a / 2 and are out of phase with a path difference δ = λ / 2 .5.3) The argument can be generalized to show that destructive interference will occur when a sin θ = mλ . each portion of the slit will act as a source of light waves according to Huygens’s principle. Similar observation applies to source 2 and source 52.Let a source of monochromatic light be incident on a slit of finite width a.5. Note that θ = 0 is a maximum. (destructive interference) (14. In diffraction of Fraunhofer type.1) λ a (14. For simplicity we divide the slit into two halves. At the first minimum.. ± 2. as shown in Figure 14. the condition for the first minimum is a λ sin θ = 2 2 or sin θ = (14. each ray from the upper half will be exactly 180° out of phase with a corresponding ray form the lower half.5. all rays passing through the slit are approximately parallel. Figure 14. and the condition for destructive interference is sin θ = 2λ a (14.5.2) Applying the same reasoning to the wavefronts from four equally spaced points a distance a / 4 apart. suppose there are 100 point sources. Thus. In addition.4) Figure 14. 14-14 .5. with the first 50 in the lower half.5.. the path difference would be δ = a sin θ / 4 .5.1.1 Diffraction of light by a slit of width a.

..800 mm. we employ the approximation sin θ ≈ tan θ = y / L . (14.00 mm from the center of the screen? (b) Calculate the width of the central maximum. By comparing Eq. .5.5.5). the slits are taken to be so small that each one is considered as a single light source. ± 2.Figure 14. and the interference of waves originating within the same slit can be neglected. Solutions: (a) The general condition for destructive interference is sin θ = m λ a m = ±1. which yields y λ ≈m L a 14-15 . For small θ . (a) What is the distance between the slit and the screen be located if the first minimum in the diffraction pattern is at a distance 1. On the other hand. we see that the condition for minima of a single-slit diffraction becomes the condition for maxima of a double-slit interference when the width of a single slit a is replaced by the separation between the two slits d. The reason is that in the double-slit case. (14. Example 14.4) with Eq.3: Single-Slit Diffraction A monochromatic light with a wavelength of λ = 600 nm passes through a single slit which has a width of 0. the minimum condition for the single-slit diffraction is obtained precisely by taking into consideration the interference of waves that originate within the same slit. ± 3.2 Intensity distribution for a single-slit diffraction.2.

00 mm . then L= −4 −3 ay1 ( 8. and the field is 14-16 .00 ×10 m )(1. We shall assume that ∆y λ so that all the light from a given zone is in phase.00 ×10− 3 m ) = 2.The first minimum corresponds to m = 1 .6. Two adjacent zones have a relative path length δ = ∆y sin θ . as shown in Figure 14. we must find the total electric field by adding the field contributions from each point.6.00 ×10 m ) = = 1.5.6. If y1 = 1.33 m mλ 1( 600 ×10− 9 m ) (b) The width of the central maximum is (see Figure 14.2) The electric field from point 2 adjacent to point 1 will have a phase shift ∆β .6.00 mm 14. The relative phase shift ∆β is given by the ratio ∆β δ ∆y sin θ = = .2) w = 2 y1 = 2 (1.1. Let’s divide the single slit into N small zones each of width ∆y = a / N . The convex lens is used to bring parallel light rays to a focal point P on the screen.6 Intensity of Single-Slit Diffraction How do we determine the intensity distribution for the pattern produced by a single-slit diffraction? To calculate this.1 Single-slit Fraunhofer diffraction Suppose the wavefront from the first point (counting from the top) arrives at the point P on the screen with an electric field given by E1 = E10 sin ωt (14. 2π λ λ ⇒ ∆β = 2π λ ∆y sin θ (14.1) Figure 14.

6.6.6.6.6.6) where N ∆y = a .3) Since each successive component has the same phase shift relative the previous one.] To use the above in Eq. The expression for the total field given in Eq.5).4) The total electric field is the sum of each individual contribution: E = E1 + E2 + EN = E10 ⎡sin ωt + sin (ωt + ∆β ) + ⎣ + sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ) ⎤ (14.6.6.5).5) ⎦ Note that total phase shift between the point N and the point 1 is β = N ∆β = 2π λ N ∆y sin θ = 2π λ a sin θ (14.6.6. (14. (14.5) can be simplified using some algebra and the trigonometric relation cos(α − β ) − cos(α + β ) = 2sin α sin β (14.E2 = E10 sin (ωt + ∆β ) (14.10) 14-17 . (14.6.7) [See Appendix for alternative approaches to simplifying Eq. consider cos(ωt − ∆β / 2) − cos(ωt + ∆β / 2) = 2sin ωt sin(∆β / 2) cos(ωt + ∆β / 2) − cos(ωt + 3∆β / 2) = 2sin(ωt + ∆β ) sin(∆β / 2) cos(ωt + 3∆β / 2) − cos(ωt + 5∆β / 2) = 2sin(ωt + 2∆β ) sin(∆β / 2) cos[ωt + ( N − 1/ 2)∆β ] − cos[ωt + ( N − 3 / 2)∆β ] = 2sin[ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ]sin(∆β / 2) Adding the terms and noting that all but two terms on the left cancel leads to cos(ωt − ∆β / 2) − cos[ωt − ( N − 1/ 2)∆β ] = 2sin(∆β / 2) ⎡sin ωt + sin (ωt + ∆β ) + ⎣ + sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ) ⎤ ⎦ (14.9) The two terms on the left combine to cos(ωt − ∆β / 2) − cos[ωt − ( N − 1/ 2)∆β ] = 2sin(ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2) sin( N ∆β / 2) with the result that (14.6.8) (14. the electric field from point N is EN = E10 sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ) (14.

6. Figure 14.16) In Figure 14.6. N sin(∆β / 2) ≈ N ∆β / 2 = β / 2 and the intensity becomes (14.6.2.6. In the limit where ∆β → 0 .13) and we express I as I ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ I = 02 ⎢ N ⎣ sin(∆β / 2) ⎥ ⎦ 2 (14.12) ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ 1 2 ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ 2 =E ⎢ ⎥ sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2 ) = 2 E10 ⎢ sin(∆β / 2) ⎥ ⎣ sin(∆β / 2) ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ 2 10 2 2 (14.14) where the extra factor N2 has been inserted to ensure that I 0 corresponds to the intensity at the central maximum β = 0 (θ = 0) . 14-18 .6.⎡sin ωt + sin (ωt + ∆β ) + + sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ) ⎤ ⎣ ⎦ sin[ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2]sin( β / 2) = sin(∆β / 2) (14.6.2 Intensity of the single-slit Fraunhofer diffraction pattern.6.11) The total electric field then becomes ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ E = E10 ⎢ ⎥ sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2 ) ⎣ sin(∆β / 2) ⎦ The intensity I is proportional to the time average of E 2 : E 2 (14.15) ⎡ sin ( β 2 ) ⎤ ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ I = I0 ⎢ ⎥ = I0 ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ β /2 ⎦ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ 2 2 (14. we plot the ratio of the intensity I / I 0 as a function of β / 2 .6.

the variation of I 0 with the width a is not shown. . ± 2. ± 2.. m = ±1.6. ± 3. In this case. a λ (14. we readily see that the condition for minimum intensity is π a sin θ = mπ . . each having a width a.. λ or sin θ = m . The resulting interference pattern for the double-slit will also include a diffraction pattern due to the individual slit.6. the peak becomes narrower.. ± 3. The intensity of the total pattern is simply the product of the two functions: 14-19 .6. m = ±1. (14. and more light is concentrated in the central peak.From Eq. We see that as the ratio a / λ grows..17) In Figure 14.6. we have seen that the intensities of the single-slit diffraction and the double-slit interference are given by: ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ I = I0 ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ 2 single-slit diffraction ⎛φ ⎞ ⎛ π d sin θ ⎞ I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ λ ⎟ ⎝2⎠ ⎝ ⎠ double-slit interference Suppose we now have two slits.15). for a = λ and a = 2λ . .7 Intensity of Double-Slit Diffraction Patterns In the previous sections.3 Intensity of single-slit diffraction as a function of θ for a = λ and a = 2λ . Figure 14. and separated by a distance d . 14.3 the intensity is plotted as a function of the angle θ .

a particular interference maximum with order number m may coincide with the first diffraction minimum.1) The first and the second terms in the above equation are referred to as the “interference factor” and the “diffraction factor.7.8 Diffraction Grating A diffraction grating consists of a large number N of slits each of width a and separated from the next by a distance d . the condition for the first diffraction minimum is a sin θ = λ . as shown in Figure 14.1).3) 14.2) Since the mth fringe is not seen.7. Thus.⎛ π d sin θ I = I 0 cos ⎜ λ ⎝ 2 ⎞ ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ ⎥ ⎟⎢ ⎠ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ 2 (14. Thus. On the other hand.8.1 Double-slit interference with diffraction. The value of m may be obtained as: d sin θ mλ = a sin θ λ or m= d a (14. While the former yields the interference substructure. . the number of fringes on each side of the central fringe is m − 1 . the total number of fringes in the central diffraction maximum is N = 2(m + 1) + 1 = 2m − 1 (14. 14-20 .7.7.” respectively.1.7. We have seen that the interference maxima occur when d sin θ = mλ . the latter acts as an envelope which sets limits on the number of the interference peaks (see Figure 14. Figure 14.

similar to the calculation we made for the double-slit case.2..8.1 Diffraction grating If we assume that the incident light is planar and diffraction spreads the light from each slit over a wide angle so that the light from all the slits will interfere with each other. m = 0.Figure 14. N.8. The location of the maxima does not depend on the number of slits.. the maxima become sharper and more intense as N is increased. (a) (b) Figure 14.8. the condition for the principal maxima is given by d sin θ = mλ .2 Intensity distribution for a diffraction grating for (a) N = 10 and (b) N = 30 . The width of the maxima can be shown to be inversely proportional to N. 14-21 . If this path difference is equal to an integral multiple of wavelengths then all the slits will constructively interfere with each other and a bright spot will appear on the screen at an angle θ . Thus. The relative path difference between each pair of adjacent slits is δ = d sin θ . we show the intensity distribution as a function of β / 2 for diffraction grating with N = 10 and N = 30 . ± 1. . ± 3. the distance d between slits may be readily deduced.8. In Figure 14.1) If the wavelength of the light and the location of the m-order maximum are known. Notice that the principal maxima become sharper and narrower as N increases. (14. ± 2. However.

(destructive interference) a where a is the width of the slit. ± 3. In a single-slit Fraunhofer diffraction... In Young’s double-slit experiment. ± 2. m = ±1.. 14. it could be exactly out of phase with light wave from another slit far away. The intensity of the interference pattern is λ 14-22 . even though θ may only be slightly deviated from the value that produces a maximum. However. it gives a more precise measurement of the wavelength. .. . (destructive interference) 2⎠ ⎝ • The intensity in the double-slit interference pattern is ⎛ π d sin θ ⎞ I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ λ ⎟ ⎝ ⎠ where I 0 is the maximum intensity on the screen. where a coherent monochromatic light source with wavelength λ emerges from two slits that are separated by a distance d. • Diffraction is the bending of waves as they pass by an object or through an aperture. the condition for destructive interference is 1⎞ ⎛ d sin θ = ⎜ m + ⎟ λ . if there were only two slits. then the two waves will still be nearly in phase and produce maxima which are broad. ± 2. the condition for destructive interference is sin θ = m . On the other hand. ± 3. m = 0..9 Summary • • Interference is the combination of two or more waves to form a composite wave based on the superposition principle.The observation can be explained as follows: suppose an angle θ ( recall that β = 2π a sin θ / λ ) which initially gives a principal maximum is increased slightly. m = 0. Since grating produces peaks that are much sharper than the two-slit system. in grating with a large number of slits. ± 2.. the condition for constructive interference is δ = d sin θ = mλ . ± 1. ± 1. (constructive interference) where m is called the order number.. ± 3.

..10 Appendix: Computing the Total Electric Field Section 14.2) 14-23 . the interference pattern will also include a diffraction pattern due to the single slit.3) (14.. and the intensity is ⎛ π d sin θ ⎞ ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ I = I 0 cos ⎜ ⎢ ⎥ λ ⎟ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ ⎝ ⎠ 2 2 14.6. • For two slits each having a width a and separated by a distance d ..10.1) we may write sin x = Im(eix ) where the notation “ Im ” stands for the imaginary part. Thus.5) can be simplified.. (14.10. and I 0 is the intensity at θ = 0 . (1) Complex representation: The total field E may be regarded as a geometric series.. + ei (ωt + ( N −1) ∆β ) ⎤ = Im ⎡ eiωt (1 + ei∆β + . + ei ( N −1) ∆β ) ⎤ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ ⎡ iωt 1 − eiN ∆β ⎤ ⎡ iωt −eiN ∆β / 2 (eiN ∆β / 2 − e− iN ∆β / 2 ) ⎤ = Im ⎢e = Im ⎢e ⎥ −ei∆β / 2 (ei∆β / 2 − e −i∆β / 2 ) ⎦ 1 − e i ∆β ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ sin( β / 2) = Im ⎢ei (ωt + ( N −1) ∆β / 2) ⎥ = sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2 ) sin(∆β / 2) sin(∆β / 2) ⎦ ⎣ where we have used (14. + sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β ) = Im ⎡eiωt + ei (ωt +∆β ) + . we have sin ωt + sin (ωt + ∆β ) + .10. From the Euler formula ∞ ∞ (ix) n (−1) n x 2 n (−1) n x 2 n +1 e =∑ =∑ + i∑ = cos x + i sin x (2n)! n =0 n ! n =0 n = 0 (2n + 1)! ix ∞ (14. Below we show two alternative approaches of how Eq.6 we used a trigonometric relation and obtained the total electric field for a single-slit diffraction.⎡ sin ( β 2 ) ⎤ ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ I = I0 ⎢ ⎥ = I0 ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ β /2 ⎦ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ 2 2 where β = 2π a sin θ / λ is the total phase difference between waves from the upper end and the lower end of the slit.

The idea of this geometric approach is based on the fact that when adding two vectors. 1− a | a | <1 (14.∑ an = 1 + a + a2 + … = n=0 N 1 − a n +1 .12). (2) Phasor diagram: Alternatively.5) Figure 14. The addition of E = E1 + E2 is shown in Figure 14. the component of the resultant vector is equal to the sum of the individual components. Before doing this. the fields E1 and E2 are represented by two-dimensional vectors E1 and E2 . is the resultant field E . let’s first see how phasor addition works for two wave functions. respectively. with the total field given by E = E1 + E2 = E10 sin α + E20 sin(α + φ ) = E0 sin(α + φ ') (14.1 Addition of two phasors.1.10. (14.10.6) Using the phasor approach.10. which is the sum of the vertical projections of E1 and E2 . 14-24 . (14.6. The vertical component of E .4) The total electric field then becomes ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ E = E10 ⎢ ⎥ sin (ωt + ( N − 1)∆β / 2 ) ⎣ sin(∆β / 2) ⎦ which is the same as that given in Eq.10. Let E1 = E10 sin α and E2 = E20 sin(α + φ ) .10. we may also use phasor diagrams to obtain the time-independent portion of the resultant field.

7) cos φ ' = Combining the two equations. (14.10) One may also obtain the total field using the trigonometric identity given in Eq. From the diagram. π 2 − η 2 = π 2 − 1 φ (π − φ ) = 2 2 (14.9) φ⎞ ⎛φ ⎞ ⎛ E = 2 E10 cos ⎜ ⎟ sin ⎜ α + ⎟ 2⎠ ⎝2⎠ ⎝ (14.10. 14-25 .8) ⎛φ ⎞ E0 = 2 E10 cos φ ' = 2 E10 cos ⎜ ⎟ ⎝2⎠ and the resultant field is (14. the phasor diagram becomes Figure 14.10.10. (14. This gives φ'= In addition. Now let’s turn to the situation where there are N sources.18).11) The corresponding phasor diagram is shown in Figure 14.10.If the two fields have the same amplitude E10 = E20 . By setting t = 0 in Eq.5). Notice that all the phasors lie on a circular arc of radius R.3.2 Addition of two phasors with the same amplitude. we obtain E0 / 2 E10 (14. we see that η + φ = π and 2φ '+ η = π .10. with each successive phasor differed in phase by ∆β .6.3. the time-independent part of the total field is E = E1 + E2 + EN = E10 ⎡sin ( ∆β ) + ⎣ + sin ( ( N − 1)∆β ) ⎤ ⎦ (14. as in our calculation of the intensity of the single-slit diffraction intensity in Section 14.6.10.10.

we see that sin β 2 = E0 / 2 R (14.6. (14.13) where β = N ∆β .11. suppose the separation between the two slits is d=0.Figure 14. we have ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ NE ⎛β ⎞ ⎛β ⎞ E0 = 2 R sin ⎜ ⎟ = 2 10 sin ⎜ ⎟ = E10 ⎢ ⎥ β ⎝2⎠ ⎝2⎠ ⎣ ∆β / 2 ⎦ (14.11) using the algebraic approach. 2 2 (14.11 Solved Problems 14.12) Since the length of the arc is NE10 = Rβ . The result is completely consistent with that obtained in Eq.3 Phasor diagram for determining the time-independent portion of E . This occurs when 14-26 .10.6.0° ? Solution: On the viewing screen.0° < θ < 45. (14.10.15).1 Double-Slit Experiment In Young’s double-slit experiment. The intensity is proportional to E02 . and again we write it as ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ I ⎡ sin( β / 2) ⎤ I = 02 ⎢ ⎥ = I0 ⎢ β / 2 ⎥ N ⎣ ∆β / 2 ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ which reproduces the result shown in Eq.320 mm. From the figure.14) 14. light intensity is a maximum when the two waves interfere constructively.10.10. If a beam of 500-nm light strikes the slits and produces an interference pattern. How many maxima will there be in the angular range −45.

there are 452 maxima in the range 0 < θ < 45. m=0. (14. there are also 452 maxima in the range −45.. we get d sin θ m= = 452. d = 3.2 Phase Difference In the double-slit interference experiment shown in Figure 14.11.2) λ Thus. what is the value of θ ? (d) If the path difference is δ = λ / 4 .800° .11. suppose d = 0.11.4) φ= 2π (1.5 (14. (a) What is the phase difference between the two waves arriving at a point P on the screen when θ = 0.0° .. At θ = 45.11.11. and the incident light is monochromatic with a wavelength λ=500 nm. Thus. we make use of the approximation sin θ ≈ tan θ = y / L . ± 2.100 mm and L = 1.0° . ± 1.3.00 × 10−4 m) sin(0.00 m .0° < θ < 0 . By symmetry.800° ? (b) What is the phase difference between the two waves arriving at a point P on the screen when y = 4. the phase difference becomes 14-27 . Including the one for m = 0 straight ahead..5) (b) When θ is small.2.d sin θ = mλ .20 × 10−4 m and λ = 500 ×10−9 m .1) where λ is the wavelength of the light. what is the value of θ ? Solutions: (a) The phase difference φ between the two wavefronts is given by φ= With θ = 0. we have 2π λ δ= 2π λ d sin θ (14.800°) = 17.00 × 10−7 m) (14.11. the total number of maxima is N = 452 + 452 + 1 = 905 (14.00 mm ? (c) If φ =1/3 rad.5 rad (5.3) 14.

φ≈ For y = 4.7) (c) For φ = 1/ 3 rad .00 m ⎠ (14.00 ×10−4 m ) sin θ −7 λ 3 ( 5. θ 2 .11.00 ×10 m ⎟ = 5.9) (14. Solution: 14-28 .00 ×10−4 m ) ⎜ 4.1 If an interference maximum is formed at an angle θ 2 at a screen far from the slits. we have 1 2π 2π rad = d sin θ = (1. as shown in Figure 14.11.11.00 ×10 m ) ⎝ 1.00 ×10 m) ⎦ −1 (14.0716 ° −4 ⎝ 4d ⎠ ⎣ 4(1.0152° (14.00 × 10 θ = sin ⎜ ⎟ = sin ⎢ ⎥ = 0.11.10) 14. d and λ .00 mm .00 ×10 m ) which gives (d) For δ = d sin θ = λ / 4 .03 rad −7 ( 5. we have 2π ⎛ y⎞ d⎜ ⎟ λ ⎝L⎠ (14.6) φ= −3 ⎛ ⎞ 2π (1. Figure 14.8) θ = 0.1.11. find the relationship between θ1 . we have −7 m ⎤ ⎛ λ ⎞ −1 ⎡ 5.11.3 Constructive Interference Coherent light rays of wavelength λ are illuminated on a pair of slits separated by distance d at an angle θ1 .11.11.

15) (b) The phase difference φ is related to the path difference δ and the wavelength λ by δ= λφ ( 500 nm )(1...11.16) 14-29 .11.60) = 78.11.. what is the corresponding path difference if the wavelength of the light is λ = 500 nm ? Solution: (a) The average intensity is given by ⎛φ ⎞ I = I 0 cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ ⎝ 2⎠ where I 0 is the maximum light intensity.5° = 1.11) The condition for constructive interference is δ = mλ .12) 14.13) φ = 2 cos −1 ⎜ ⎜ ⎛ I ⎝ I0 ⎞ −1 ⎟ = 2 cos ( 0.11. Thus. ⎛φ ⎞ 0. we have d ( sin θ1 − sin θ 2 ) = mλ (14.11.60 = cos 2 ⎜ ⎟ ⎝2⎠ which yields (14. is the order number. where m = 0. ± 1.37 rad ⎟ ⎠ (14. (a) What is the minimum phase difference (in radians) between sources? (b) In (a).11.4 Intensity in Double-Slit Interference Let the intensity on the screen at a point P in a double-slit interference pattern be 60.The path difference between the two rays is δ = d sin θ1 − d sin θ 2 (14.14) (14. Thus. ± 2.0% of the maximum value.11.37 rad ) = = 109 nm 2π 2π (14.

That is. The distance between the centers of the slits is d = 2. with its axis at the midline between the slits.80 µ m .17) where small-angle approximation has been made.800 ×10− 3 m)(1.800 mm.19) λ≈ 2a y2b 2(0.60 ×10− 3 m) = = 6. The screen has a semi-cylindrical shape.11.11. (a) Find the direction of the interference maxima on the screen.14.6 Intensity in Double-Slit Diffraction Coherent light with a wavelength of λ = 500 nm is sent through two parallel slits.700 µ m. What is the wavelength of the incident light? Solution: The general condition for destructive interference is sin θ = m λ a ≈ y L (14.11.800 m) (14. Express your answers in terms of the angle away from the bisector of the line joining the slits. The second-order bright fringe is at a distance 1. the position of the m-th order dark fringe measured from the central axis is ym = m λL a (14.5 Second-Order Bright Fringe A monochromatic light is incident on a single slit of width 0. and a diffraction pattern is formed at a screen which is 0. each having a width a = 0.60 mm from the center of the central maximum. Thus.800 m away from the slit.11. 1 1 λ L 5λ L = y2b = ( y2 + y3 ) = (2 + 3) 2 2 a 2a The approximate wavelength of the incident light is then (14. (b) How many bright fringes appear on the screen? 14-30 .11.40 ×10− 7 m 5L 5(0.18) Let the second bright fringe be located halfway between the second and the third dark fringes.20) 14.11.

00 ×10−7 m ⎞ −1 θ m = sin ⎜ m ⎟ = sin ( 0.536) = ±32.179m ) −6 2. (14.80 ×10 m ⎠ (14. .25) With λ = 5.00 ×10−7 m .9° θ ±4 = sin −1 (±0. measured relative to the intensity I 0 associated with the central maximum.714m ) −7 ⎝ 7. find the intensity.21) θ m = sin −1 ⎜ ⎛ mλ ⎞ ⎟ ⎝ d ⎠ (14.11.. we see that there are a total of 11 directions of interference maxima. (b) The general condition for single-slit diffraction minima is a sin θ = mλ . Solutions: (a) The condition for double-slit interference maxima is given by d sin θ = mλ which yields m = 0.00 ×10 m ⎠ −1 (14.80 ×10−6 m .714) = ±45.23) The solutions are θ 0 = 0° θ ±2 = sin −1 (±0. the above equation becomes θ m = sin −1 ⎜ m ⎝ ⎛ 5. the above equation becomes ⎛ 5..26) The solutions are 14-31 .3° θ ±3 = sin −1 (±0.357) = ±20.11.2° (14. ± 2.179) = ±10.4° θ ±5 = sin −1 (±0.893) = ±63.11.22) With λ = 5.. ± 1.(c) For each bright fringe.00 ×10−7 m and a = 7.11.00 ×10−7 m ⎞ −1 ⎟ = sin ( 0.00 ×10−7 m and d = 2. or θ m = sin −1 ⎜ ⎛ mλ ⎞ ⎟ ⎝ a ⎠ m = ±1.11. (14.24) Thus.07) = no solution θ ±1 = sin −1 (±0. ± 2..6° θ ±6 = sin −1 (±1.11..

we have πa sin θ / λ = ± which gives π ( 0.6° θ ±2 = sin −1 ( ±1. and the intensity ratio is I ⎡ sin 225° ⎤ = ± = 0. 0.36 rad = ±135° .32) 14-32 .36 ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ 2 (14.11.811 I 0 ⎢ 0.11.3° .0901 I0 ⎢ 2.0° .9° .0324 I0 ⎢ 3.406 I0 ⎢ 1.785 rad = ±45.4° .43) = no solution (14.785 ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ (14.93 rad = ±225° . we have πa sin θ / λ = ±1. and the intensity ratio is I ⎡ sin 90.θ ±1 = sin −1 ( ±0. the total number of bright fringes is N = 11 − 2 = 9 .3° = ±0.11. (c) The intensity on the screen is given by ⎡ sin (π a sin θ λ ) ⎤ I = I0 ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ π a sin θ λ ⎦ where I0 is the intensity at θ = 0 .0° ⎤ = ± = 0. (i) At θ = 0° .714 ) = ±45.0° .2° .93 ⎥ ⎣ ⎦ 2 (14.11. and the intensity ratio is I ⎡ sin 135° ⎤ = ± = 0.30) (iv) At θ = ±32.00 .57 ⎦ ⎣ 2 (14.57 rad = ±90.700 µ m ) sin 10. we have the central maximum and I / I 0 = 1. 2 (14.0° ⎤ = ± ⎥ = 0.29) (iii) At θ = ±20.11. we have πa sin θ / λ = ±3. we have πa sin θ / λ = ±2.27) Since these angles correspond to dark fringes.31) (v) At θ = ±63.500 µ m 2 I ⎡ sin 45.11.28) (ii) At θ = ±10.

Explain why the light from the two headlights of a distant car does not produce an interference pattern. can we simply add the intensities from each of the two slits? 14.13.12 Conceptual Questions 1. how would the interference pattern change if white light is used? 3. In calculating the intensity in double-slit interference. if the slits of width 0.14. What happens to the width of the central maximum in a single-slit diffraction if the slit width is increased? 5. (a) Calculate the spacing between the adjacent bright fringes. In a single-slit diffraction.20 m from the slits.2 Interference-Diffraction Pattern In the double-slit Fraunhofer interference-diffraction experiment. suppose the slits are separated by d = 1. what happens to the spacing between the fringes if (a) the slit separation is increased? (b) the wavelength of the incident light is decreased? (c) if the distance between the slits and the viewing screen is increased? 2. In Young’s double-slit experiment.00 cm and the viewing screen is located at a distance L = 1.20 mm . what happens to the intensity pattern if the slit width becomes narrower and narrower? 6.13 Additional Problems 14. In Young’s double-slit experiment.010 mm are separated by a distance 0.1 Double-Slit Interference In the double-slit interference experiment. Let the incident light be monochromatic with a wavelength λ=500 nm. (b) What is the distance between the third-order fringe and the center line? 14.13. How many bright fringes are there in the central diffraction maximum? 14-33 . 4. and the incident light is monochromatic with a wavelength λ = 600 nm .

13. and the fields at a point P on the viewing screen are E1 = E10 sin ωt .13.3 Three-Slit Interference Suppose a monochromatic coherent light source of wavelength λ passes through three parallel slits.13. each separated by a distance d from its neighbor. What is the spacing between the successive minima? λL 3d .8.. (b) Let L = 1.. we have shown in 14. n = 1...10. λ = 450 nm and d = 0.14. 2.4 Intensity of Double-Slit Interference In the double-slit interference experiment. suppose the slits are of different size.6 that the intensity is ⎡ sin ( β 2 ) ⎤ ⎡ sin (π a sin θ / λ ) ⎤ I = I0 ⎢ ⎥ = I0 ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ β /2 ⎦ ⎣ π a sin θ / λ ⎦ 2 2 (a) Explain why the condition for the secondary maxima β / 2 = (m + 1/ 2)π . (a) Show that the positions of the interference minima on a viewing screen a distance L d away is approximately given by y=n where n is not a multiple of 3.5 Secondary Maxima In a single-slit diffraction pattern. m = 1. E2 = E20 sin(ωt + φ ) 14. 14.. 7..20 m .5. is not given by 14-34 .3. 2.10 mm . 4. Show that the intensity at P is I = I1 + I 2 + 2 I1 I 2 cos φ where I1 and I 2 are the intensities due to the light from each slit.

13.(b) By differentiating the expression above for I . Compare your results with β / 2 = (m + 1/ 2)π . or mathematical software. what can you conclude about the slit width and separation? 14-35 . 14. the values of β for the first and second secondary maxima. find the values of β at which the two curves intersect. Using a calculator which has a graphing function. and hence.6 Interference-Diffraction Pattern If there are 7 fringes in the central diffraction maximum in a double-slit interference pattern. show that the condition for secondary maxima is β ⎛β ⎞ = tan ⎜ ⎟ 2 ⎝2⎠ (c) Plot the curves y = β / 2 and y = tan( β / 2) .

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