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35.1 Interference and Coherent Sources

Interference

Interference of Light: Interference of light occurs when two light waves, travelling through a medium meet up. This causes redistribution of energy, at some points it becomes maximum (Constructive interference) and at some points it becomes minimum (destructive interference). Examples of Interference of light: Young’s double slit experiment, colours in thin films, colours in soap bubbles. Interference can be explained with the help of Principle of Superposition of waves.

Principle of Superposition of waves: When two or more waves overlap, the resultant displacement at any point at any instant is the sum of the instantaneous displacements that would be produced at the point by the individual wave if each were present alone.

Constructive and Destructive Interference (Fig. 35.1): S1 and S2 are two identical and monochromatic sources. Waves produced have same amplitude, wavelength, frequency and state of polarization. Two sources are coherent, means that waves produced should have constant or no phase difference between them. Point a is equidistant from S1 and S2 and waves from the two sources require equal time to reach a. At a they will be in phase. The total amplitude at a is twice the amplitude of individual wave. The distance of S2 from point ( ) is two wavelengths greater than the distance of S1 from point ( ). Thus, again two waves arrive in phase at b and the total amplitude at b is twice the amplitude of individual wave. When waves from 2 or more sources arrive at a point in phase, the amplitude of the resultant wave is the sum of amplitudes of individual wave. This is called CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE. For CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE, the following should hold good: (Eq. 35.1) For DESTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE, following should hold good: (Eq. 35.2)

1

1 Interference and coherent wave sources 35.2 Two-Source Interference of Light 2 .Figure 35.

35. 35. 35.2) can be described as follows: d distance between slits (sources) S1 and S2 R the distance between slits and screen Refer to Fig.2b. For CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: (Eq. is the angle between a line from the slit to screen and a normal to the plane of slits (Fig 35. 35.2c).3) where. At point P on the screen.Figure 35. path difference is given by: (Eq.4) For DESTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: 3 .2 Young’s double slit experiment The geometry of Young’s double slit experiment (Fig.

Find the wavelength of the light used. oscillating in phase. Assume that central fringe is not used in counting. let is the distance from the centre of th pattern to the centre of m bright fringe and be the corresponding angle. 35. then Combining the above equation with Eq.4). Ans: 500 nm Example 2: A radio station operating at a frequency of Hz has two identical vertical dipole antennas spaced 400 m.2 mm apart. Since . (35. 35. in what directions is the intensity greatest in the resulting radiation pattern? Ans: 35. the slits are 0. The third bright fringe is found to be displaced 7.6) Example 1: In a two slit interference experiment.(Eq.5 mm from the central bright fringe.3 Intensity in Interference Patterns The intensity of light due to a single source: 4 . At distances much greater than 400 m. and the screen is at a distance of 1. thus is small . we get (Eq.5) The pattern on screen is a succession of bright and dark bands called INTERFERENCE FRINGES.0 m. parallel to S1 and S2. To find the position of centre of mth bright fringe.

then we can write following equations for the superimposing electric fields. Drawing these two in the phasor diagram and using the knowledge of vector algebra to find the magnitude of resultant amplitude as the vector sum of the two amplitudes.and y-components will help. 35.8) Question: What is when two waves are in phase? Ans: When two waves are in phase: Question: What is when two waves are exactly half cycle out of phase? Ans: When two waves are exactly half cycle out of phase: 5 . taking proper account of the phase difference of the two waves at P which results from the path difference. If the phase angle between two waves arriving at P is . Assume that the two waves have same amplitude .7) Combine two sinusoidally varying fields at the point P in the radiation pattern. Intensity is proportional to the square of resultant electric field amplitude. 35. Hint: Resolving the vectors in x.3 Using cosine rule. Figure 35. Using the trigonometric identity: Phasor diagram (Eq.(Eq.

(35. ( Phase difference.7) and Eq. Path difference.9) Phase Difference and Path Difference: When path difference is .10) where is defined as wave number Relationship between path difference and phase difference in both types of interference: Type of interference Constructive Destructive Question: For the condition . From Eq. Value of m Integers From Eq. the intensity in two-source interference pattern is (Eq. (35.10) (Eq. When path difference is .Question: Find the intensity at point P. path difference of is related to phase difference of by Eq. (35. (35. 35.9). (35. Intensity is maximum when two waves are in phase and is given by : Hence. Thus.3) and Eq. (35. find the expression of intensity at point P in terms of angle .10). Using Eq. phase difference is .8). 6 . 35. phase difference is .

(iii) or Ans: (i) 35. The two light rays (path abc and path abdef) undergo interference as they reach the eyes.4).4 Interference in Thin Films Example: Bright bands of colour when light reflects from a soap bubble or from a thin layer of oil floating on water. (i) (ii) (iii) What is the intensity in the direction ? In what direction near is the intensity 0.01 W/m2? In what direction is the intensity 0? . oscillating in phase. In our discussion of thin film interference. (ii) . we will consider the light approaches the film at normal incidence unless otherwise stated.02 W/m2. 7 . Consider a monochromatic light source incident on a thin film (Fig. The intensity at a distance of 700 m in the direction corresponding to is 0. If the light ray is incident normally on the film.Example 3 A radio station operating at a frequency of Hz has two identical vertical dipole antennas spaced 10 m. the light rays are reflected from upper and bottom surfaces of the film. then the path difference will be . where t is the thickness of the film. 35. The path difference between ray abc and ray abdef will be path bde.

8 . Non-Reflective coatings: A thin layer of film of hard transparent material with refractive index smaller than that of the glass is deposited on glass. If the first medium is less dense than the second medium. Phase change at reflection Phase change of No phase change The path difference condition for constructive and destructive interference can be summarized as follows: Condition Phase change at reflection Phase change of Constructive interference Destructive interference Value of m Integers No phase change Note: is the wavelength of light in the medium of thin film and wavelength changes with medium. Condition be the refractive index of second medium. there is phase reversal for the reflected ray.4 Thin Film Interference Note: With respect to the direction of incident ray. there is no phase reversal for the reflected ray.Figure 35. if the first medium is denser than the second medium. Let be the refractive index of first medium.

This causes a path difference of between two rays. If the film thickness is . phase change due to reflection is the same for both of them. If film thickness is .5 Non-reflective coatings Reflective coatings: A thin layer of film of hard transparent material with refractive index greater than that of the glass and thickness is deposited on glass. Light is reflected from both surfaces of film. so the intensity of light is maximum for . 9 . Thus. i. Total path difference becomes . and the reflected light has a purple hue. This is the condition of constructive interference. in the case of white light. Light is reflected from both surfaces of film. the path difference between the rays will be for near-normal incidence. By this method. This is condition of destructive interference.e. Due to reflection from a medium of higher refractive index for both light rays. There is phase reversal in the light ray reflected at air-film interface and no phase reversal in the light reflected at film-glass interface. This increases reflectivity and the coating is known as reflective coating. the additional path difference between the rays will be for near-normal incidence. so intensity of light is very low for . There is no light due to green but there is light due to red and blue. . Figure 35. the overall reflection from a lens or prism surface can be reduced from 4-5% to < 1%. condition of minima is satisfied for only one colour and the choice is normally green.

3 nm.52. (b) 223 nm 10 . What is the next greatest thickness for which there will also be constructive interference? Ans: (a) 74. The window glass has index of 1. (a) What is the minimum thickness required if the light with wavelength 550 nm in air reflected from the two sides of the film is to interfere constructively? (b) It is found to be difficult to manufacture and install coatings as thin as calculated in part (a).85 put on the surface of a car window to increase the reflectivity and thus to keep the interior of the car cooler.Example 4 A plastic film with index of refraction 1.

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