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DIFFRACTION AND INTERFERENCE OF LIGHT

DIFFRACTION :The spreading or bending of light waves when passing through a small opening or moving past
an obstacle.
INTERFERENCE :The overlapping of two waves. It is a phenomenon which occurs when two waves of the same
nature from different sources meet at the same place.
1. Constructive Interference:This occurs when crests (or troughs) of two waves overlap and the resulting
amplitude is greater than the amplitude of either of the two waves.
CRESTS

Waves are in phase
TROUGHS

2. Destructive Interference:This occurs when a crest of a one wave overlaps a trough of another wave
(they are out of phase) and the resulting amplitude is less than the amplitude of either of the two waves.

Waves are 180o
out of phase

Union of Crest and Trough

FRINGES FORMED BY DIFFRACTION AND INTERFERENCE
Owing to the combined effects of diffraction and interference. A regular pattern of alternate bright lines and
dark bands are created called fringes. In the Young’s double slit experiment, Young explained that when
waves overlap and at places where a crest of one wave overlaps a crest of another wave, they interfere
constructively and produce brightness on the screen called bright bands or nth Order Interference
Maximum. The spaces between the bright lines are called dark fringes or nth Order Interference Minimum
which occurs when waves interfere destructively.
Constructive Interference
BRIGHT

2nd Bright
fr CB or 2nd order Int.Max
BRIGHT
2nd Dark
or First order Int. Min
DARK

DARK

1st Dark
or Zeroth order Int. Min
DARK
BRIGHT

S
B

DARK

BRIGHT

Central Bright or Zeroth order
BRIGHT
interference Maximum
1st Dark
or Zeroth order Int. Min
DARK
1st Bright
fr CB or First order Int.Max
BRIGHT
2nd Dark
or First order Int. Min
DARK
2nd Bright
fr CB or 2nd order Int.Max
BRIGHT

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A

Destructive Interference

1st Bright
fr CB or First order Int.Max
BRIGHT

5) L a   n = 1 for first order interference maximum or 1st bright line n = 2 for 2nd order bright or 2nd bright line Page1 Where: .Distance between fringes and wavelength of light ( double slit ) The interference pattern on the screen lays a significant role in determining the wavelength of light used and the distance of the dark bands and bright lines from the central maximum. two slits (cm or m) distance separating the screen and the slits (cm or m) Distance between fringes and wavelength of light ( single slit ) The interference pattern on the screen lays a significant role in determining the wavelength of light used and the distance of the dark bands and bright lines from the central maximum. The distance Yn from the central maximum to the nth order interference maximum or bright line is Yn = (n  0. The distance Yn from the central maximum to the nth order interference maximum or bright line is Yn = nL d Where:  n = 0 for zeroth order interference maximum or 1st bright line or CENTRAL BRIGHT  n = 1 for 1st order interference maximum or 2nd bright line or 1st bright after central bright The distance Yn from the central maximum to the nth order interference minimum or dark line is Yn = (n  0.5) L d Where :  n = 0 for zeroth order interference minimum or 1st dark line after central maximum  n = 1 for 1st order interference minimum or 2nd dark line Also: d L - slit separation or distance bet.

A slit 0. As measured by grating.6 x 10 -3 m L = 0.6 mm wide causes a diffraction pattern on a screen 40 cm away when illuminated by mercury light 5461 Ao.6 mm = 0.The distance Yn from the central maximum to the nth order interference minimum or dark line is Yn = ( n ) L a Where :  n = 1 for 1st dark line after central maximum  n = 2 for 2nd dark line Also: a L - slit width (cm or m) distance separating the screen and the slits (cm or m) Diffraction Grating: It is a glass plate with several parallel slits or lines used to separate light of different frequencies and to measure the wavelength of light. Find the distance from the central image to the 3rd dark band.4 m = (3) L a Yn = (3)0.09 x 10 -3 m Page1 Problem: Yn .4(5461x10  10 ) 0. Solution:  = 5461 Ao = 5461 x 10 -10 m. the wavelength of light emitted or absorbed by the atom is ∆y  sin  nm = = Yn Lnm d L Where: n m d Yn - Order of interference Number of lines by cm of grating (lines/cm or lines/m) m = 1/d Distance between two adjacent slits (cm or m) Distance of any other interference from central interference (cm or m) SAMPLE PROBLEMS Problem: 1.6 x10  3 n = 3 for 3rd dark band = 1. a = 0.

maximum or central image or 1st bright line st n = 1 1 order int.2 x 10 -3 m Yn = 360 cm Page1 For Bright Image. nd 2 Bright 2nd Dark 1st Bright 1st Dark Central Bright d L Yn For Dark Image. max or 2nd Bright or 1st Bright Line from Central b ) second bright band. Light of wavelength 633 nm from a distant source is incident on a slit 0. Yn = n  L d th n = 0 0 order int.750mm  0. min.00075m x  3.50 m m x ym  a x y1  a x y1   a 2 x y  y1  y1  a y  0.50 m away.59cm PROBLEM 3. or 1st dark line n = 1st order int. a) How far is the second dark band from the central image? b) How far is the second bright band from the central image? c ) Calculate the distance separating adjacent bright bands.2. and the resulting diffraction pattern is observed on a screen 3.750 mm wide.0 cm away.200 mm apart. What is the distance between the two first order dark fringes on either side of the central bright fringe?   633nm  633  10 9 m a  0. The interference fringes for light of wavelength 600μm are formed on a screen 80. The two slits in a Young’s experiment apparatus are 0.005908m  0. or 2nd dark line a ) second dark band. n = 1 Yn = ( 1 + ½ ) 80 cm ( 600 x 10 -6 m ) 0. Yn = ( 2 ) ( 600 x 10 -6 m ) 80 cm 0.2 x 10 -3 m Yn = 480 cm . Yn = ( n + ½ ) L  d n = 0 0th order interference min.

01m ym     1.c ) let n = bright band Yn  n L . diffraction gratings 2 .01m  a a a 9  0. monochromatic light sources C.01m  d d d 9 5 0. there is a a phase difference of 0.75m  600 10 m  a  4. crest and trough superposed each other. 2 λ. D.12 cm m 8. A.01m mx x  0.00 m away.00cm.01m   600nm  600 10 9 m x  0.225mm 0. 3λ. bright lines or bands appear on the screen. The two first-order bright images on each side of the central image are separated by 0.36 = 5.01m Y1  1.75m  600  10 9 m  y5   0.75m  600  10 m d   d  2.25  10 4 m  0.045mm a 0. When light waves from the two slits are incident on the same point on the screen. y5  1.36 lines / cm 5980 x1010 (5)(1) 1 1 d = = = 0. The light incident on the Young’s double slit has a wavelength of 600nm and the distance between the slits and the screen is 0.2 x10 3 4. What is the average distance between threads in the handtowel ?  = sin  nm = Yn Lnm m = m = Yn Ln 1 d 0.25 x10 2 = 836 lines/m = 8.75m. destuctive interference occurs if A. interference fringes B. d n+1 = the next bright band Yn+1 = Y  Yn 1  Yn (n  1)L d L  d (600 x10 6 )80   240cm 0.75m  600 109 m Ym   Y1   0.00cm  0.00cm  0. The destructive and constructive interference of light that passes through two closely-spaced slits produces ____.75m d  L    Multiple Choice/ Exercises  mx 5 x 5 0. A boy looks through his handtowel at a sodium light (λ = 5980 A) located 5. …C. coherent light waves. Page1 ∆y . What should be the slit separation of a double slit if the distance from the central bright fringe to the 5th bright fringe (small fringes) = 1. there is path difference of Yn sinθ B. The combined effects of diffraction and interference created an alternate pattern of bright and dark fringes on the screen.50 cm.5 105 m  0. D. λ.

000 nm. 7. (a) What is the distance of separation between the 3 rd and 4th dark lines of the interference pattern formed on the screen? (b) The screen is moved closer to the slits and the 1st order bright fringes on the interference pattern are observed to be 5.5. What wavelength of light would cause interference fringes 4mm apart when light is passed through a double slit having a separation of 0.00 mm apart. Monochromatic light of wavelength 500 nm from a distant source is incident on a double slit 0. On a screen. and the resulting diffraction pattern is observed on a screen 4 m away. What is the unknown wavelength ? (fringes are counted from the central bright fringe.5 x10 3 ) 4 = 5 x10 7 m = 5000 Ao EXERCISE PROBLEMS : 1. the fourth dark fringe of the interference pattern for the 8.80 mm wide.3 .5 mm if the distance of screen from slit is 4 m ? A.000 Ao Yn L = n d  Yn d Ln = 4 x10 3 (0. 4. 7.500 Ao B. What is the distance between the 5th dark fringe and the 6th order bright fringe above the central bright fringe? . By how much is the screen moved toward the slits? Page1 3. Double slits are illuminated by lights with two different wavelengths. ) 2.300 mm apart and the resulting diffraction pattern is observed on a screen 120 cm away. Light of wavelength 630 nm from a distant source is incident on a double slit 0.000 nm wavelength coincides with the fifth bright fringe for the other wavelength. One wavelength is 8.000 Ao D.000 Ao C.