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# Experiment 10: Diffraction

## Instructor: Darryl Masson

Sam Higginbotham
Austin Trout and Jake Wilson
December 1, 2014

Abstract
Fresnel Diffraction and Fraunhofer Diffraction was examined in detail during this lab. Fresnel Diffraction
was observed by shining coherent, laser light on edges of small objects, such as a razor and a needle. Fraunhofer diffraction was observed by shining coherent laser light on sets of slits and determining, qualitatively,
the relationships between the observed patter and the width, length, and number of the slits.

Fresnel Diffraction
Fresnel Diffraction is a bit more difficult to analyze. The main concept behind Fresnel Diffraction is
that the distance between the screen and where the light is being forced through is finite, Fraunhofer is
the opposite, the distance can be approximated as infinite. Fresnel Diffraction follows complex integration
techniques and a rather intricate usage of the Cornu Spiral. The Spiral can be used to calculate where we
expect the maxima and minima to occur relative to a fixed point (the origin) of the shadow on the screen.
We chose this point to be I0 the incident intensity, which will yield a position from which we can calculate
where the maxima and minima are expected. We will do a thorough analysis of Fresnel Diffraction for a
straight edge, calculate the width of a single slit, and qualitatively analyze the diffraction of a needle.
When the value of the distance vector, de~ - found in red in the image to the
noted A
left, is maximal then that is the corresponding
First Maximum of the intensity profile. The
other maxima and minima that we are interested in here is the first minima and the second maxima, also shown in the red. We can
also see from the graph the the Cornu spiral
is parametrized with the variable v, thus the
correct maxima and minima location discussed
above can be identified with the v parameter.
The values of these max and mins can be obtained from Fresnel Integrals or found from the
tables of values that the Integrals generate. Either way the values that we are interested in
are as follows.
Figure 1: Figure of Cornu Spiral: The Fundamentals of
Optics 4th Ed. Jenkins and White pg. 393
VM
1.18

Vm
1.88

VM 2
2.3

Where VM denotes the first maxima, Vm the first minima, and VM 2 the second maxima.

Sam Higginbotham

Methodology
The goal of our analysis for the Fresnel Diffraction can be summarized as follows:
Analysis of Straight-Edge Fresnel Diffraction
Calculate - or rather find from the table above - the correct v from the Cornu Spiral, and then
calculate the experimental maxima or minima l from the length of the laser to the diffraction
object, a, the length from the diffraction object to the photodiode, b, and the wavelength . The
following relation can be used to calculate the appropriate l ?:
s

b a + b
(18o)
l=v
2a
Compare the l from the calculated to what has been observed from the first three maxima or
minima observed in the intensity profile.The motor seems to move consistently at 150 m so I
used that consistently throughout the analyses to find l in m.
Analysis of a Single Slit
The single slit is similar to two straight edges simultaneously. There will be constructive and
destructive interference in addition to the pattern of the straight edge - it will be symmetric.
To measure the width of the slit we must use the following relation ?:
s
ab

s = v
2 a+b

(18k)

The s is the width of the slit which can be calculated by the differences in the parameter v
which can be obtained from inverting 18o and changing l to l. Then we must use 18o to solve
for v in order to substitute into 18k. We may then use that relation to calculate the width of
the slit.
s
s
2a
ab


s = l
b a + b
2 a+b
a 
a+b
The Tricky part is now going to be calculating the l from the graph because there is no asymptotic limit. The best thing to try is to find the first peak and reference intensity on the edge
diffraction curve.
s = l

Compare the width of the slit with what the manufacturer stated the slit width to be.
? These formulas are attributed to The Fundamentals of Optics 4th Ed. Jenkins and White

Sam Higginbotham

Intensity

## Fresnel Diffraction: Straight Edge @ 50cm

2 / ndf 4.855e+04 / 2000
p0
20.86 0.1101

30

25
20
15
10
5

0
10000

8000

6000

4000

2000

2000
4000
6000
Spatial Domain micrometers

Intensity

## Fresnel Diffraction: Straight Edge @ 50cm

2 / ndf 1.247e+04 / 1332
p0
23.75 0.0838

30
25
20
15
10
5
0
6000

4000

2000

2000
4000
Spatial Domain micrometers

The red line shows the asymptotic limit, which is parameter zero in the graph legend. The data is as
follows:

Sam Higginbotham

## Razor placed at 40cm from the laser.

Extrema Position
lM
lm
lM 2

Calculated l (m)
594
946
1157

Experimental l (m)
619 117
947 187
1189 230

Percent Difference
4
0
3

Experimental l (m)
478 107
729 170
915 208

Percent Difference
5
1
2

Extrema Position
lM
lm
lM 2

Calculated l (m)
460
732
896

## Analysis for the Straight Edge

The error shown in the table is given by the tangential method. Note: I am choosing to set = 0 and
v = 0 because they should be absolutely given to what ever precision we desire.
s

b a + b
l=v
2a
r
l =

a =
a
a

l
b =
b
b
r
l =

l 2
l 2
l 2
l 2
+
v +
a +
b

v
a
b
r
l 2
l 2
a +
b
l =
a
b
r
b b2 
v b b2 1/2
b2 
v
+
a =
+
2 a
2
2a
2 2
2a
2a
r
b b2 
v b b2 1/2 b 
v
+
b =
+
+
b
2
2a
2 2
2a
2
a

v b b2 1/2
b2   2
v b b2 1/2 b  2
+
2 a +
+
+
b
2 2
2a
2a
2 2
2a
2
a

## Data and Calculation for the Single Slit

For this section we must use the following relation to find the width of the slit:
s = l

a 
a+b

Now again, because of the difficulty in finding out where the asymptotic limit is of the two graphs, Ill
superimpose the graphs from the straight edge going different directions, separated by an amount equal to
the width of the slit to see what points on the graph are needed to find l - I am going to omit the imposed
graphs because of clutter. The convention for the slit width is measured in 1/8 point, which one point is
1/72 of an inch thus the slit that is (1,16,-) is actually 16 81 point , so therefore it is 1/36 of an inch or
0.000705556 meters. For finding the correct l for the slit set (1,16,-) I noticed that for the thinner slit,
the superimposed graphs would constructively interfere most in the middle so I took the difference from the
main peak to lower asymptotic limit. For the slit set (1,32,-) The graphs of the Single Slit Diffraction are as
follows:

Sam Higginbotham

## For the Slit Set: (1,16,-)

a = 50cm and b = 30cm
a = 40cm and b = 40cm
Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 50cm
Intensity

Intensity

## Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 40cm

10

10

0
0

1000

2000

3000

4000

0
0

5000
6000
7000
Spatial Domain micrometers

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000
6000
Spatial Domain micrometers

## For the Slit Set: (1,32,-)

a = 50cm and b = 30cm
a = 40cm and b = 40cm
Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 50cm
Intensity

Intensity

## Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 40cm

10

10

0
0

1000

2000

3000

4000

0
0

5000
6000
Spatial Domain micrometers

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000
6000
Spatial Domain micrometers

Slit Set
(1,16,-)
(1,32,-)

l m
1300
3500

Slit Width m
0.00065 0.00005
0.0016 0.00006

## Slit Width m Given

0.00071
0.0014

Percent Difference
8
14

Slit Set
(1,16,-)
(1,32,-)

l m
1100
2800

Slit Width m
0.00069 0.00006
0.0018 0.00007

## Slit Width m Given

0.00071
0.0014

Percent Difference
3
29

Sam Higginbotham

## Analysis for the Single Slit

The tangential error for the single slit is as follows:
r
2
s 2
s 2
s
s =
l +
a +
b
l
a
b
s
a
l =
l
l
a+b
1 
a
s
+
a = l
a
2
a
(a + b)
a+b

s
a
b = l
b
b
(a + b)2
s
s =

2
 2
a
1  2
a
a
+
l + l
a + l
b
2
2
a+b
(a + b)
a+b
(a + b)

There is probably a better and more defined methodology to analyzing Fresnel Diffraction, but that can
probably done in a more advance optics course.

## Diffraction off a Needle

This section explored, qualitatively the effect of Fresnel Diffraction off of a sewing needle. The graph
below shows the interference pattern:

Intensity

Needle
30

25

20

15

10

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80
90
Spatial Domain

We see what we would expect, a symmetric diffraction pattern with one dip between each of the maxima
and minima. It seems we really can locate a thin needled in Fresnel Diffraction - now it would really be
amazing if we could find one in a haystack!

Sam Higginbotham

Fraunhofer Diffraction
Fraunhofer diffraction was discussed - in great detail - in the previous reports. Therefore, the goal here is
a qualitative approach, to discuss the various trends when parameters are changed in slit configuration...ie)
changing the slit width, the number of slits, and slit spacing. There were a total of six different types of
slits. Each which changed a certain parameter so that one may qualitatively analyze each trait. Note the
spatial domain shown is not any convenient units, it is just the time stamp, but because of the qualitative
nature of this analysis I chose to omit micrometers.

Graphs
Fraunhofer Slit AB
Intensity

## (A,B) 1 Slit, 0.04mm Wide

Fraunhofer Slit AD
Intensity

## (A,D) 1 Slit, 0.16mm Wide

80

7
6
5

60
4
3

40

2
20
1
0

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60
Spatial Domain

10

20

30

40

50

60
70
Spatial Domain

Fraunhofer Slit BC
Intensity

## (B,C) 2 Slit, 0.08mm Wide, 0.250mm Spacing

Fraunhofer Slit AB
Intensity

## (B,A) 2 Slit, 0.04mm Wide, 0.250mm Spacing

22
20

100

80

18
16
14

60

12
10

40

8
6
20

4
2
0
0

10

20

30

40

50

0
0

60
Spatial Domain

10

20

30

40

50

60

70
80
Spatial Domain

Sam Higginbotham

Fraunhofer Slit CB
Intensity

## (C,B) 3 Slit, 0.04mm Wide, 0.125mm Spacing

Fraunhofer Slit BD
Intensity

100

80

60

50

40

60

30
40
20
20
10

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

0
0

70
Spatial Domain

10

20

30

40

50

60

70
80
Spatial Domain

## (C,D) 5 Slit, 0.04mm Wide, 0.125mm Spacing

Intensity

Fraunhofer Slit CD
100

80

60

40

20

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80
Spatial Domain

Discussion
Fraunhofer diffraction can be described qualitatively by examining the graphs above. We can observe a
general trend by looking at the top two graphs (A,D) and (A,B), as the slit width increases, the width of the
maxima gets smaller so it must be inversely proportional. We may also compare (B,C) and (B,D) in order
to compare how the spacing of the slits change the diffraction pattern. Increasing the spacing between the
slits seem to allow for more interference. The peak remains the same size; however, there are more maxima
interference peaks with the one that has the increased spacing, thus it seems the slit spacing is directly
proportional to the number of maxima between the enveloping wave structure. Actually there are exactly
twice the number of peaks in the one with more spacing ( the middle is 2x - 1 in order to keep symmetry).
Another trend that seems to be rather obvious is that as the number of slits increase the interference
pattern shows more local maxima and minima and that it is actually equal to the number of slits involved.
For example the (C,D) slit set which has five slits shows 3 small peaks between 2 large peaks, which is equal
to the number of slits of the set - Same goes for slit set (C,B) as it has 3 total peaks.

Sam Higginbotham

Conclusion
This lab explored the phenomena of Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction. Fresnel Diffraction, the interference of light coming from a source at a finite distance. The straight edge in the Fresnel Diffraction was
rather successful. We were able to get a readout with a rather defined asymptotic limit. The first time we
took that data the laser wasnt completely incident on the straight edge so our reading was rather skewed,
but after readjusting we obtained the data above. We were rather successful in matching the theoretical
maximum and minimum positions with those calculated.
The single slit was quite a bit more difficult. The analysis was easy except for finding the right values
for the maxima and minima because there was no asymptotic limit to shift the graph. A more advance
course could go through and run the analysis on the Cornu Spiral to give the theoretical locations for the
maximums and minimums here. However, with the time given we were unable to do that. As such, I chose
the one sided asymptotic limit on the thinner slit to describe the l and in the larger slit I chose the width
of the main interference pattern to describe l because there was no main intensity peak.
The Fraunhofer Diffraction section was successful. The readouts obtained from the different slit sets were
able to show vastly different behavior. The size of the slit was inversely proportional to the width of the
intensity pattern. The number of slits were equal to the number of fringes minus 2 in between the main
peaks of constructive interference - the 5 slit set had 3 slits between each main slit for a total of 5 slits.
The spacing was directly proportional to the number of large constructive interference patterns between the
enveloping behavior.
In the future it might be beneficial to actually discuss in depth how one would use the Cornu spiral to
generate these interference patterns. We could also consider doing the famous experiment where Fresnel
diffraction yields a small amount of light at the center of the spherical objects shadow.