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Diffraction and the Cornu Sprial

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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

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

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

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

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

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

a = 50cm and b = 30cm

a = 40cm and b = 40cm

Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 50cm

Intensity

Intensity

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

a = 50cm and b = 30cm

a = 40cm and b = 40cm

Single Slit Fresnel Diffraction @ 50cm

Intensity

Intensity

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

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

0.00071

0.0014

Percent Difference

3

29

Sam Higginbotham

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.

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

Fraunhofer Slit AD

Intensity

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

Fraunhofer Slit AB

Intensity

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

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

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.

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