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You are on page 1of 68

July 9, 2016

but may in certain circumstances give darkness - Max Born

Module I - Syllabus

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Interference : Introduction, Interference in thin films due to reflected

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light, interference in wedge shaped film, Newtons rings, Michelsons interfer-

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of light and refractive index of liquids and thin transparent sheets, flatness of

surface, thickness of thinfilm coatings, antireflection coatings.

Module I - Part II - Diffraction: Introduction, Fraunhoffer diffraction

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resolving power of a grating, dispersive power of a grating.

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Contents

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Syllabus 1

1 Introduction 7

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1.2 Characteristics of a waves : . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1.3 Principle of superposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.3.1 Phase difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.3.2 Path difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

2 Interference 10

2.1 Coherence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

2.2 Constructive and Destructive Interference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

CONTENTS 2

3.1 Nature of Interference pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

3.2 Determination of path difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

3.3 Determination of fringe width . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

5.1 The Stokes treatment of reflection and refraction . . . . . . . . . . . 18

5.2 Mathematical Analysis of the thin film interference pattern . . . . . 19

5.3 Conditions for maxima and minima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

5.4 Important Points on thin film interference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

6.1 Mathematical analysis for a wedge shaped film . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

6.2 Conditions for dark and bright fringes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

6.3 Determination of fringe width or wedge angle . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

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6.4 Determination of thickness of the spacer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

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6.5 Number of dark fringes for an air wedge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

6.6 Salient features of the wedge shaped interference pattern . . . . . . 26

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7 Newtons Rings 26

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7.2 Formation of Rings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

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7.3.1 Condition for bright and dark fringes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

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7.5 Determination of refractive index of a liquid by Newtons rings . . . 30

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8 Michelson Interferometer 31

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8.1.1 Special Cases of d: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

8.2 Applications of Michelsons interferometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

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8.2.2 Measurement of resolution of closely spaced spectral lines . . 33

8.2.3 Determination of thickness of a thin transparent sheet . . . 34

9 Applications of Interference 35

9.1 Testing the flatness of a surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

9.2 Testing of a lens surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

9.3 Thickness of a Thin film coating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

9.4 Anti-reflection (AR) coating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

9.4.1 Phase condition and minimum thickness of the AR coating . 38

CONTENTS 3

10 Introduction to Diffraction 40

10.1 Dependence of diffraction on wavelength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

10.2 Fresnels explanation of diffraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

10.3 Types of diffraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

10.3.1 Fresnel diffraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

10.3.2 Fraunhoffer diffraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

12.1 Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

12.2 Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

12.3 Qualitative Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

12.3.1 Formation of Central Maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

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12.3.2 Formation of Minima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

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12.3.3 Formation of secondary Maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

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12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

12.4.1 Principal Maxima . . . . . . . . . . .

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

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12.4.3 Positions of secondary maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

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13.1 Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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. . . . . . . . . . . . 53

13.2 Diffraction maxima and minima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

13.3 Interference maxima and minima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

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13.4.1 Diffraction contribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

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13.4.3 Missing orders (Absent spectras) in the resultant pattern . . 57

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15.1 Intensity distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

15.1.1 Principal Maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

15.1.2 Minima and Secondary maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

15.1.3 Missing orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

15.1.4 Highest possible order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

15.1.5 Width of the Principal Maxima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

15.2 Diffraction grating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

CONTENTS 4

15.2.2 Dtermination of wavelength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

15.2.3 Properties of Grating spectra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

15.2.4 Dispersive power of a grating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

15.3 Resolving Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

15.3.1 Resolving power of a grating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

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LIST OF FIGURES 5

List of Figures

1 Illustration of different characteristics of waves. . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2 Superposition of two waves y1 = 2 sin(kx wt) and y2 = 3 sin(kx

wt + /3) giving rise to the resultant wave y = y1 + y2 . . . . . . . . 9

3 Illustration of different types of interference fringes viz. Straight

bands (left), circular rings (center) and other complex types (right). 13

4 Youngs double slit experiment, (left) experimental set up and (right)

schematic diagram. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

5 Variation of intensity as a function of i.e., the interference fringe

pattern for Youngs double slit experiment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

6 Multiple reflections inside a thin film. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

7 Illustration of Stokes law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

8 Interference from a parallel thin film. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

9 Interference from a wedge shaped film. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

10 Calculation of fringe width and the height of the spacer for the

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wedge shaped film. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

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11 Experimental set up for formation of Newtons rings. . . . . . . . . 27

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of fringes for a Newtons ring experiment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

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14 The Michelson Interferometer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

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16 Inspection of lenses using Newtons rings (a) Circular ring pattern

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ing irregularities on the lens surface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

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ing. (b) Nature of interference fringes formed using the setup. . . . 36

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19 Dependence of the diffraction phenomenon on wavelength and the

size of the obstacle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

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21 Conditions for (a) Fresnel diffraction and (b) Fraunhoffer diffraction. 43

22 Resultant of multiple SHMs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

23 Schematic arrangement for Fraunhoffer diffraction from a single slit. 46

24 Conditions for (a) first order minimum and (b) first order maximum

in Fraunhoffer single slit diffraction pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

25 (a) Variation of intensity in single slit diffraction pattern as a func-

tion of . (b) Plots of y = and y = tan which determines the

positions of secondary maximas in single slit diffraction pattern. . . 51

LIST OF FIGURES 6

tion pattern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

27 Arrangement for Fraunhoffer diffraction from a double slit. . . . . . 53

28 Vector addition of two vectors having amplitudes R1 , R2 and a phase

difference between them. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

29 (a) Intensity distribution of only the single slit diffraction pattern,

(b) Intensity distribution of only the double slit interference pattern

and (c) Combined effect of interference and diffraction providing

the intensity distribution of the Fraunhoffer double slit diffraction

pattern. The envelope of the double slit diffraction pattern (red) is

the single slit diffraction pattern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

30 Fraunhoffer diffraction of a plane wave incident normally on a mul-

tiple slit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

31 (b) Schematic representation of Rayleighs criterion for the resolving

power of a grating. Note the separation of maxima in (a) and close

overlapping of the spectrum in (c). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

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1 Introduction 7

1 Introduction

In 1678 Huygens (1629-1695) proposed wave theory of light. According to this

theory, light energy is transferred from one point to another point in the form

of waves. The first experimental evidence, of this theory, came in 1801 from

the interference experiments conducted by Thomas Young. Using the principle of

superposition and Huygens wave theory, he was able to explain interference effects

observed in various instances such as double slit experiment, colors in soap films,

Newtons rings etc.

From Maxwells theory, a light wave is a harmonic electromagnetic wave consisting

of periodically varying transverse electric and magnetic fields oscillating at right

angles to each other and also to the direction of propagation of the wave. The

~ and the magnetic

electric field in the wave is defined by the electric field vector E,

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~ The electric field vector E ~ and the

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field by the vector of magnetic induction B.

~

magnetic field vector B are of equal importance and are related to each other.

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Therefore, a light wave is often represented by the electric field vector E~ only.

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Displacement y :- The distance of any point in the wave from its mean

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symbol y.

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position is called the amplitude of the wave. It is denoted by symbol A.

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Wavelength

Crest

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Amplitude

Trough

Undisturbed state

Direction of wave motion

1.3 Principle of superposition 8

Time period T :- The time required to complete one cycle of vibration start-

ing from any displacement of the wave is called the Time period of the

wave. It is denoted by symbol T .

Wavelength :- The distance travelled by the wave in one time period i.e., in

T seconds is called the wavelength of the wave. It is denoted by symbol .

Sometimes the wavelength is represented by the wave number k = 2/.

the frequency of the wave. It is denoted by the symbol f . The angular

frequency w = 2f . From the definition of time period, the time required

to complete one vibration is T seconds. Thus, the number of vibrations per

unit time is

1 2

f = w= . (1)

T T

Velocity v :- The distance travelled by the wave in one second of time is

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called the velocity of the wave. We know that wavelength is the distance

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travelled by a wave in a time period of T seconds. Therefore velocity of the

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wave

2

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Wavelength w

v= = = T = . (2)

Time period T 2 k

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Phase angle :- The magnitude and direction of the displacement of the wave

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changes from point to point on the wave. The quantity which represents this

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state of the displacement of the wave is called the phase of the wave. It is

denoted by symbol . It may be expressed in terms of degrees or radians.

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Intensity I :- The energy carried by a wave per unit time through a unit area

perpendicular to its direction of propagation is known as the intensity of the

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a wave is directly proportional to the square of the amplitude of the wave.

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Thus

I |A|2 , (3)

where A is the amplitude of the wave. Some of these properties of the waves

are demonstrated in figure 1.

The principle of superposition states that, When two or more waves overlap at

any point in space at any instant of time, the resultant displacement is equal to

the algebraic sum of the instantaneous displacements of all the waves at that point

alone.

1.3 Principle of superposition 9

y = y1 + y2

y2 y1

wt + /3) giving rise to the resultant wave y = y1 + y2 .

To understand this, let us consider two waves at any point in space at any

instant of time, whose displacements are y1 and y2 and they are in same direction.

According to principle of superposition, when these two waves overlap, the instan-

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taneous displacement of the resultant wave is y = y1 + y2 . This is illustrated in

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figure 2. As can be seen from the figure 2, the resultant wave not only depends on

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the value of the amplitudes of the individual waves but also the difference between

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the phases of the two waves (which is also called the phase difference between the

waves at that point in space).

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Phase difference is a measure of how much phase angle one wave has compared to

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the phase angle of the other wave at any point in the space. Thus when two waves

are passing through a point in space, the phase difference between the two waves

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is an indication of how much the two waves are out of phase. In figure 2, the two

waves y1 and y2 have a phase difference of = /3.

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Dr

When a wave travels a distance equal to its wavelength , it covers one cycle of

vibration. Thus the phase change is 2. This is equivalent to say that if two waves

having wavelength has a phase difference of 2, then the path difference between

the two waves is . Using these we can write the relation between path difference

corresponding to phase difference as

= . (4)

2

2 Interference 10

2 Interference

From figure 2, we can observe that when two waves superpose together their re-

sultant amplitude differs from the individual amplitudes. As the intensity of the

wave is directly proportional to the square of the amplitude; superposition leads

to modification of light intensity. This is an illustration of interference. Thus the

definition of interference can be written as :

The redistribution of light intensity due to superposition of two or more light

waves is called Interference of light.

Explanation :

When two or more waves superpose, then the resultant amplitude in the region of

superposition is different than the individual waves. Thus, the resultant intensity

will be higher or lower than the individual intensities i.e., positions of maximum

and minimum intensities are different from the individual waves. This modification

of the intensity is called interference. This can be explained using the principle

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of superposition.

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In order to understand this, let us consider two waves y1 and y2 given by

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y1 = y A1 sin(k1 x w1 t),

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(5)

y2 = y A2 sin(k2 x w2 t + ), (6)

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where A1 and A2 are the amplitudes of the waves y1 and y2 respectively and y

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phase factor. When these two waves superpose together at position (x, t) in space

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y = y1 + y2 ,

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between the waves y1 and y2 to be a function of position x and time t and is given

by

= f (x, t) = (k2 x w2 t + ) (k1 x w1 t) = 4kx 4wt + . (8)

Then the resultant displacement

= y [A1 sin(k1 x w1 t) + A2 {sin(k1 x w1 t) cos + cos(k1 x w1 t) sin }]

= y [{A1 + A2 cos } sin(k1 x w1 t) + {A2 sin } cos(k1 x w1 t)]

= y [AR cos sin(k1 x w1 t) + AR sin cos(k1 x w1 t)]

= y AR sin(k1 x w1 t + ), (9)

2.1 Coherence 11

AR cos = A1 + A2 cos

and AR sin = A2 sin (10)

AR being the amplitude of the resultant wave y and its phase difference with

respect to wave y1 . Squaring and adding both sides of the two equations (10), we

determine the square of the amplitude of the resultant wave

A2R = (A1 + A2 cos )2 + (A2 sin )2

q

2 2

= A1 + A2 + 2 A21 A22 cos . (11)

p

IR = I1 + I2 + 2 I1 I2 cos , (12)

where IR , I1 and I2 are the intensities of resultant wave y, the individual waves y1

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and y2 respectively. Also from equations (10) we can determine the phase angle

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of the resultant wave as

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A2 sin

tan = . (13)

A1 + A2 cos

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Now since = 4kx 4wt + , the resultant intensity IR , as seen from equation

(12), at a particular position in space changes with time unless 4w = w2 w1 = 0.

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Since the velocity of light is a constant in free space, then for a particular frequency

i.e., w2 = w1 , it ensures that 4k = k2 k1 = 0. From these, we conclude that for

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1. The waves superposing together must have same frequency,

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and

3. the two waves maintain a constant phase difference.

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The waves which satisfy the above three conditions are called as coherent waves.

2.1 Coherence

Definition : If two (or more) waves maintain a constant phase difference over a long

distance and time, then the waves are said to be coherent waves. This constant

phase difference may be 0 or 2 or any value in between 0 and 2. The waves

of same frequency and wavelength may differ in amplitude, but they maintain a

constant phase relationship, hence they are coherent waves.

If the two waves are of different frequencies then they can never maintain a

constant phase difference. Such waves are said to be incoherent waves.

2.2 Constructive and Destructive Interference 12

Let us assume that the waves interfering with each other are coherent waves, then

w1 = w2 and 1 = 2 giving a constant phase difference = . Substituting this

into equation (11), we have

Substituting cos = 1, we have

AR = A1 + A2 . (15)

Thus, if the phase difference between the two interfering waves is an even multiple

of , then the amplitude of the resultant wave is the sum of the amplitudes of the

individual waves. This is called constructive interference. In terms of intensity

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since IR = I1 + I2 + 2 I1 I2 , we say that the resultant intensity, for constructive

interference, is greater than the sum of the individual intensities.

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On the other side, the minimum value of cos = 1 which occurs for =

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as

AR = A1 A2 . (16)

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It shows that if the phase difference between the two interfering waves is an odd

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multiple of , then the amplitude of the resultant wave is the difference between

the amplitudes of the individual waves.This is called destructive interference. In

terms of intensity since IR = I1 + I2 2 I1 I2 , we say that the resultant intensity,

an

for destructive interference, is always less than the sum of the individual intensities.

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A2 = A, then the resultant amplitude of the constructive interference is AR =

A1 + A2 = 2A and the resultant amplitude of the destructive interference is AR =

Dr

of constructive interference and a stationary dark band appears at the points of

destructive interference.

The average intensities between the constructive and destructive interference

regions can be calculated as

Imax + Imin 1 p p

Iav = = I1 + I2 + 2 I1 I2 + I1 + I2 2 I1 I2 = I1 + I2 . (17)

2 2

It shows that the average intensity in case of interference fringes is the sum of

the intensities of the individual waves. Furthermore, when two coherent waves

with same amplitude interfere, it results in regions of constructive and destructive

3 Youngs Double Slit Experiment 13

(left), circular rings (center) and other complex types (right).

other areas. The perfect dark areas in between the bright regions provides a good

contrast. The dark and bright regions might appear in the form of straight lines

or circular fringes or any complex shape (See figure 3).

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3 Youngs Double Slit Experiment

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His setup consisting of a monochromatic light source S emitting light waves. These

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light waves are made to pass through two slits S1 and S2 placed at an equal

distance from S (For an illustration see figure 4). The wavelets from the source

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S on entering the slits S1 and S2 , behave as if like they are two sources. These

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generated waves moving away from their sources will superimpose on each other

and provide dark and bright fringes. Dark fringes are the points where crests

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Figure 4: Youngs double slit experiment, (left) experimental set up and (right)

schematic diagram.

3 Youngs Double Slit Experiment 14

Intensity

5 4 3 2 0 2 3 4 5

pattern for Youngs double slit experiment.

fall on troughs (destructive interference) and bright fringes are the points where

crests fall on crests or troughs fall on troughs (constructive interference). Thus

on the screen alternate dark and bright regions, called as interference fringes are

observed.

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Let us calculate the resultant intensity of light at a point P on the screen GG0

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which is at a distance x from the centre point C. Let A be the amplitude of the

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waves generates from sources S1 and S2 ; and the phase difference between the

Pr

two waves reaching at point P at any instant of time is . If y1 and y2 are the

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as

y1 = A sin wt

oh

y2 = A sin(wt + ). (18)

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Now as per the principle of superposition the displacement of the resultant wave

at P is

y = y1 + y2 = AR sin(wt + ). (19)

an

where

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A2R = A2 + A2 + 2A2 cos = 2 A2 (1 + cos ) = 4A2 cos2 (20)

2

Dr

and tan = =

= tan . (21)

1 + cos 2 cos2 2 2

For details of this derivation look for the equations (11) and (13). In the above

equation we have used 1 + cos = 2 cos2 (/2) to obtain the final expression of the

amplitude. As the intensity of individual waves I0 A2 , we can write down the

resultant intensity

IR = 4 I0 cos2 . (22)

2

The nature of this interference intensity is illustrated in figure 5.

3.1 Nature of Interference pattern 15

Case I : Condition for maximum intensity or bright fringes -

The resultant intensity is maximum if cos2 2 = 1 which occurs if the phase differ-

ence = 0, 2, 4, . . . or in general when = 2 n where (n = 0, 1, 2, 3, . . .).

This occurs when the path difference = S2 P S1 P = 2 = n. At this point

the intensity becomes maximum Imax = 4 I0 which means the resultant intensity

is more than the sum of individual intensities 2 I0 ). Hence it is called constructive

interference which results in bright fringes.

Case II : Condition for minimum intensity or dark fringes -

The resultant intensity is minimum if cos2 2 = 0 which occurs if the phase dif-

ference = , 3, 5, . . . or in general when = (2 n + 1) where (n =

0, 1, 2, 3, . . .). This occurs when the path difference = S2 P S1 P = 2 =

(2n + 1)/2. At this point the intensity becomes minimum Imin = 0 which means

the resultant intensity is less than the sum of individual intensities (2 I0 ). Hence

it is called destructive interference which results in dark fringes.

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3.2 Determination of path difference

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Pr

From the schematic diagram of Youngs double slit experiment we have

sN

s 2 s 2

d d

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as

= S2 P S1 P = 2

D + x+ D + x2

2 2

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(

2 1/2

) ( 2 )1/2

x + d/2 x d/2

= D 1+ 1+

am

D D

"( 2 ) ( 2 )#

1 x + d/2 1 x d/2

an

D 1+ 1+

2 D 2 D

.M

(1/2) 4 x (d/2) xd

= D 2

= = d sin , (23)

D D

Dr

where sin = Dx , being the angle at which the interference fringe occurs with

respect to the centre of the sources S1 and S2 . Thus, if d sin = n then we

obtain constructive interference and if d sin = (2n + 1)/2 we obtain destructive

interference.

3.3 Determination of fringe width 16

Let us consider two positions on the screen xn and xn+1 for which we have nth and

(n + 1)th order maxima. Then from the condition of maxima, we have

xn d

= n ,

D

xn+1 d

and = (n + 1) (24)

D

Subtracting these two equations we get, for fringe width

D D

= xn+1 xn = [(n + 1) n] = . (25)

d d

This relation remains independent of the nature of fringes. Further if d is very

large i.e., the two sources interfering with each other is at a large distance from

each other then the fringe width is very small and we cannot have a very good

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contrast of the interference fringes.

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From the above analysis we can safely say that if the interfering waves satisfy the

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1. The interfering waves should have same wavelength and same frequency.

am

2. The interfering waves maintain a constant phase difference among each other.

3. For a good contrast of the interference fringes, the amplitude of the waves

an

should be same and the interfering sources should be very close to each other.

.M

Dr

A film of thickness in the range of 0.5 m to 10 m may be considered as a thin

film. It can be a thin sheet of transparent material such as glass, mica, a soap

bubble or an air film enclosed between two transparent plates.

When a monochromatic light is incident on a thin film, a small part of it gets

reflected from the top surface and a major part is transmitted into the film. Again

a small part of the transmitted component is reflected back into the film by the

bottom surface and the rest is transmitted from the lower surface of the film. Thus

a small portion of the light gets reflected partially several times in succession within

the film. See figure 6 for an illustration of the reflected and transmitted beams. At

5 Interference in parallel thin films 17

Inc

ide I0 0 I0 03 I0 05 I0

nt rI 0 0

tt

r

ttr

0

ttr

0

Ra

y

0

0

tr 03I

tr 05I

tr I 0

tr I 0

tr I 0

tr 0I

tI 0

Thin Film

02

04

06

tt 0 tt 0 tt 0 tt 0

I0 r 02 r 04 r 06

I0 I0 I0

each reflection the intensity and hence the amplitude of the light wave is divided

into a reflected component and a refracted component. These components travel

ty

es

along different paths and subsequently overlap to produce interference fringes.

us

Therefore, the interference from thin films is called interference due to division

ot

of amplitude. Newton and Robert Hooke first observed the thin film interference

Pr

sN

pattern but Thomas Young gave the correct explanation of the phenomena.

Lets assume that r is the reflectance, which is a measure of the proportion of

an

light energy getting reflected and t is the transmittance of the thin film medium.

as

oh

Cl

reflected, when a light of intensity I0 is incident into the medium is rI0 . Assuming

no absorption in the medium the amount of light energy transmitted into the

am

thin film is tI0 = (1 r)I0 . Again if we assume r0 and t0 as the reflectance and

transmittance inside the thin film then the intensity of light getting transmitted

an

from the lower surface is tt0 I0 while the rest amount gets reflected into the medium

whose intensity is tr0 I0 = t(1t0 )I0 . In this way we can calculate that the intensity

.M

of light rays that gets reflected are tt0 r0 I0 , tt0 r03 I0 , tt0 r05 I0 , . . . and the intensity of

light rays that gets transmitted are ttI0 , tt0 r02 I0 , tt0 r04 I0 , . . . etc. Adding all the

intensities of the reflected beams provides the total intensity of the reflected light

Dr

which is

= I0 [r + tt0 r0 (1 + r02 + r04 + . . .)]

0 0 1

= I0 r + tt r 02

( r0 < 1)

1r

0

0 (1 r)(1 r )

= I0 r + r ( t = 1 r & t0 = 1 r0 )

1 r02

r + r0

= I0 = I0 R , (26)

1 + r0

5.1 The Stokes treatment of reflection and refraction 18

r + r0

where R = is the total reflectance of the medium. Similarly the total

1 + r0

intensity of the transmitted lights is

= I0 [tt0 (1 + r02 + r04 + . . .)]

0 1

= I0 tt ( r0 < 1)

1 r02

(1 r)(1 r0 )

= I0 ( t = 1 r & t0 = 1 r0 )

1 r02

1r

= I0 = I0 T , (27)

1 + r0

1r

where T = is the total transmittance of the medium. We can observe that

1 + r0

R + T = 1 i.e., if there is no absorption inside the medium then the amount of

ty

reflected light is complementary to the amount of the transmitted light.

es

us

ot

Pr

sN

index 1 and medium 2 of refractive index 2 , as shown in figure 7(a). If the

an

as

amplitude of the incident ray is A, the amplitudes of the reflected and refracted

oh

Cl

beam would be A r and A t respectively. Here r and t are the reflection and

transmission coefficients of the medium 1 respectively.

am

an

.M

Dr

sorption, a light ray that is reflected or refracted will retrace its original path if

its direction is reversed. In Figure 7(b), the rays are reversed. We consider a ray

of amplitude A t incident on medium 2 and a ray of amplitude A r incident on

medium 1. The ray of amplitude A t will give rise to a reflected ray of amplitude

5.2 Mathematical Analysis of the thin film interference pattern 19

reflection and transmission coefficients when a ray is incident from medium 2 to

medium 1. Similarly the ray of amplitude A r will give rise to rays of amplitudes

A r2 and A r t0 .

According to the principle of reversibility, the two rays of amplitudes A r2 and

A t t0 must combine to give the incident ray i.e.,

A r2 + A t t0 = A t t0 = 1 r2 . (28)

Furthermore the two rays or amplitudes A t r0 and A r t must cancel each other,

i.e.

A t r0 + A r t = 0 r = r0 . (29)

From this result, it is seen that the fraction of the intensity reflected is the same

for a wave incident from either side of the boundary, since the negative sign disap-

pears upon squaring the amplitudes. The difference in sign of the amplitudes on

reflection from above and reflection from below indicates a difference of phase of

ty

between the two cases. (a reversal of sign means a displacement in the opposite

es

sense). The results will often be made use of in interference discussions.

us

ot

Pr

sN

Let us consider a transparent thin film of uniform thickness t and refractive index

an

as

oh

Cl

AC into the film making an angle of refraction r at A. The ray AC again partly

am

reflected at C back into the film along CD and partly transmitted into air. The

ray CD is transmitted at the upper surface and travels along DE.

an

After these two reflections the intensities of the recflected rays drop to a negli-

gible strength. So, we consider only these two reflected rays only for the analysis

.M

of intereference in thin films. These two rays are derived from the same incident

ray LA. Therefore the light rays AB and DE are coherent and travel along par-

allel paths to interfere at infinity. The condition for maxima and minima can be

Dr

deduced by calculating the optical path difference between these two rays at the

point of their meeting.

In order to calculate the path difference between the reflected rays AB and

ACDE, lets draw perpendicular lines from C to the line P Q and from D to ray

AB. Let these points be G and F respectively. As DF is normal to AB, from

points F and D onwards the light rays F B and DE travel equal path. Therefore

the geometrical path difference between the rays is AC + CD AF . But the path

AF is travelled in air having refractive index = 1; while path ACD is travelled in

the film of refractive index . Hence the optical path difference between the rays

before they meet is

= (AC + CD) AF. (30)

5.2 Mathematical Analysis of the thin film interference pattern 20

L B E

Inc

ide F 90o

nt

R ay i

G i Q

P A D

r

t Thin Film

rr

R S

C

the film, we can write in 4ACG

CG t

ty

cos r = AC = .

es

AC cos r

us

ot

Furthermore as ACG = DCG = r, we have AC = CD. Using this we can

Pr

sN

write

2t

AC + CD = . (31)

cos r

an

as

AF

Now from 4AF D ADF = i, so sin i = AF = AD sin i. Also because

oh

Cl

AD

AG = GD, where AG = GC tan r = t tan r, and AD = AG + GD, we get

am

sin i

= 2 t tan r sin r

an

sin r

sin2 r

.M

cos r

Substituting the values from equations (31) and (32) into equation (30), we get

Dr

2t sin2 r

= 2 t

cos r cos r

2 t

1 sin2 r

=

cos r

= 2 t cos r. (33)

As the ray AF is reflected from the surface of an optically denser medium, using

Stokes law, there is a phase change of between the incident and the reflected

5.3 Conditions for maxima and minima 21

AB and ACDE. Thus, the corrected path difference is

o = 2 t cos r . (34)

2

Maxima occurs when the path difference o = n where n = 0, 1, 2, 3, . . ..

In this case constructive interference takes place and the film appears bright.

This occurs if

2 t cos r = n

2

2 t cos r = n

2

or 2 t cos r = (2n 1) . (35)

ty

es

2

us

ot

Minima occurs when the path difference o = (2n 1) /2 where n =

Pr

0, 1, 2, 3, . . .. In this case destructive interference takes place and the film

sN

an

as

2 t cos r = (2n 1) (36)

2 2

oh

Cl

2 t cos r = (2n 1)

am

2 2

or 2 t cos r = n . (37)

an

.M

1. The conditions for thin fim interference depends on three parameters namely

t, and r. For a constant thickness film t is constant. Thus if the

Dr

wavelength of the source remains constant then the nature of fringes depends

on the angle r, which also means it depends on the angle of incident i only.

Consequently when the inclination of the film with respect to the light beam

is changed we find alternate dark and bright fringes. Thus, these type of

fringes are called fringes of equal inclination.

2. Along with constant thickness if the angle of incident is also constant, then

the nature of fringes solely depends on the wavelength of the incident beam.

3. The colours exhibited in reflection by thin films of oil, mica, soap bubbles,

colours of some insects and oxide coatings on hot metal surface etc are due to

interference of light from an extended source such as sky. When white light

6 Interference from a wedge shaped film 22

is incident on thin film, it suffers reflection from top and bottom surfaces of

the film. The reflected rays interfere. Since white light consists of a range of

wavelengths, those waves for which the path difference is n will be absent

in the reflected light. The other colours will be reflected. Therefore, the film

will appear coloured corresponding to the reflected colours.

4. Since the reflectance and the transmittance values are complementary to each

other the condition for constructive interference and destructive interference

gets reversed for the transmitted light. Thus if the condition of constructive

interference is satisfied for the reflected beam then the same condition will

provide a destructive interference in the transmitted beam and vice versa.

A wedge is formed by two glass slides resting on each other at one end and separated

by a spacer at the opposite end. Thus a wedge shaped film is defied as a thin film

ty

es

having zero thickness at one end and gradually increasing to a particular thickness

us

ot

at the other end. Thus a thin wedge of air film is formed when two glass slides

are separated by a spacer at one end while the other end are in contact with each

Pr

sN

an

as

oh

Cl

Let us consider a wedge shaped film formed between two glass plates P Q and P R

by placing a thin wire spacer between the two glass plates at one end. Let be

am

the small wedge angle formed between the two plates and be the refractive index

of the film medium.

an

.M

B E

L R

Inci

Dr

den F D

tR i i

ay A t2 t1

Spacer

I

+r

t1 t2

r

P Q

G C H

6.1 Mathematical analysis for a wedge shaped film 23

When the light from the monochromatic source L is incident on the wedge at

an angle of incidence i at point A, a part of it gets reflected at the top of the film

as AB ray. A part of the light gets transmitted inside the wedge shaped film and

gets partly reflected at the bottom of the wedge shaped film from point C as ray

CDE. These two rays AB and ACDE interfere producing dark and bright fringes

parallel to the contact edge of the two glass plates. The nature of interference can

be determined by calculating the optical path difference between the light rays

AB and ACDE.

In order to calculate the optical path difference let us assume that t1 is the

thickness of the film at A i.e., AG = t1 . Similarly let us assume that the thickness

of the wedge shaped film at D is t2 i.e., DH = t2 . Let us draw a perpendicular

line from point D onto the ray AB which intersecting it at F and another from

A onto line DH intersecting it at I. Then the optical path difference between the

light rays AB and ACDE is

= (AC + CD) AF. (38)

ty

es

The factor of has been multiplied to AC + CD because the path of the light

us

ACD is traversed inside the film of refractive index while path AF is travelled

ot

in air.

Pr

sN

Similarly in 4DHC HDC = + r from which we have cos ( + r) = DH/DC =

an

t2 /DC. Combining together, we get

as

t1 t2 t1 + t2

oh

Cl

AC + CD = + = . (39)

cos( + r) cos( + r) cos( + r)

am

ID/AD, which provides AD = ID/ sin = (t2 t1 )/ sin . Combining we get

an

t2 t1

AF = AD sin i = sin i

sin

.M

t2 t1 sin i

= sin r

sin sin r

(t2 t1 )

Dr

0 sin i

= sin r using Snell s law = (40)

sin sin r

Substituting the values of AC + CD and AF from equations (39) and (40) into

equation (38), we have optical path difference

t1 + t2 (t2 t1 ) sin r

= (41)

cos( + r) sin

Now we assume that the light is falling normally onto the upper glass plate

P R i.e., i = 0o , then r = 0o sin r = 0. In this limit

(t1 + t2 )

= . (42)

cos

Classnotes by Dr. Manamohan Prusty

6.2 Conditions for dark and bright fringes 24

Further in the limit 0, the points A and D are very close together. So we can

safely assume that t1 t2 (= t) and cos 1. Substituting these values we have

= 2 t. By Stokes law there is an additional phase change of between the

reflection from a denser medium to a rarer medium which is equivalent to having

an additional path difference of /2. Taking into account this additional path

difference we get

= 2 t /2. (43)

The condition for bright fringes is

= n or 2 t = (2n + 1) , (44)

2

and the condition for the dark fringes is

ty

es

= (2n + 1) or 2 t = n . (45)

2

us

ot

Pr

sN

Consider two successive dark fringes. Lets assume that the fringes are nth order

and (n + 1)th order and they occur at points K and L on the wedge shaped film

an

as

as shown in figure 10. Further lets assume that the thickness of the film at K and

oh

Cl

am

2 t1 = n, (46)

and at L

an

2 t2 = (n + 1). (47)

.M

R

N

Dr

Spacer

M

O h

t2

t1

P Q

x1 K l L

x2

Figure 10: Calculation of fringe width and the height of the spacer for the wedge

shaped film.

6.4 Determination of thickness of the spacer 25

Subtracting we get

2 (t2 t1 ) = (t2 t1 ) = ON = . (48)

2

Now in 4M ON , we have

ON ON

tan = = , (49)

MO

where is the distance between two successive dark fringes and it also equal to

the separation between two successive bright fringes. Hence it is also called the

fringe width of the fringes. Substituting the value of ON we get the value of fringe

width

= . (50)

2 tan

For small value of wedge angle tan . This provides the value of fringe width

= = . (51)

ty

2 2

es

This shows that an increase in wedge angle makes the fringes move closer.

us

ot

Pr

sN

Let us assume that h is the thickness of the spacer and l is the length of the wedge

an

as

i.e., it is the length from the apex of the wedge to the initial position of the spacer.

Then from figure 10, tan = h/l. Therefore,

oh

Cl

am

l

= l = . (52)

2 2

an

However, if there are N number of dark fringes between K and L which are at x1

and x2 distances from the apex of the wedge, then we can write the fringe width

.M

x2 x1

= . (53)

N

Dr

lN

h= . (54)

2 (x2 x1 )

Let us assume that there are all total N dark fringes in an air ( = 1) wedge.

In this case the length of the wedge becomes x2 x1 = l which contains N dark

fringes. Substituting these values in equation (54), we have

N 2h

h= N = . (55)

2

Classnotes by Dr. Manamohan Prusty

6.6 Salient features of the wedge shaped interference pattern 26

The interference pattern resulted from the wedge shaped film has the following

salient features

The fringe at the apex is dark

At the apex the two glass surfaces are in contact with each other. Thus

the optical path difference between the interfering beams is /2 (since the

thickness t 0). Thus the two waves interfere destructively resulting in a

dark fringe at the apex t = 0.

Fringes are equidistant from each other

Since the fringe width = . Now , , and are constants, providing

2

the fringe width to be a constant for a given wedge angle. Thus the fringes

are equidistant.

Fringes are straight and parallel

ty

es

Each fringe in the pattern is formed in the sections of the wedge having equal

us

thickness. The locus of points having same thickness lie along lines parallel

ot

to the contact edge. Therefore the fringes are straight and since the fringe

Pr

sN

width is constant i.e., the fringes are at equidistant from each other, they

will be parallel.

an

as

The fringes are formed very close to the top surface of the wedge and can be

oh

Cl

am

The various parts of the film are at same inclination angle. Thus, the path

an

the film. Therefore each fringe will be the locus of points of same thickness.

.M

Dr

7 Newtons Rings

Newton first observed circular interference fringes by forming a very thin film of air

or some other transparent medium of varying thickness enclosed between a plane

glass plate and a planoconvex lens of large focal length. Such circular fringes were

called Newtons rings.

A thin plano convex lens L is placed on a plane glass plate P , such that its convex

surface makes contact with the plate P at a point O. A thin film of air is formed

7.2 Formation of Rings 27

Microscope

G

45o

Source

Gl

as

sP

lat

e

ty

O

es

P

us

ot

Pr

sN

an

as

between the lower surface of the lens and the upper surface of the plate. The

thickness of the air film (gap) is very small at the point of contact and gradually

oh

Cl

am

an

A monochromatic light from the source such as a sodium vapour lamp, falls on

.M

the glass plate G held at an angle of 45o with the vertical. The plate G reflects

a part of the incident light, normally towards the plane surface of the lens L. At

this plane surface light ray enters into the lens and a part of this light is reflected

Dr

from the bottom surface of the plano-convex lens L at the glass air boundary. The

other part is refracted (or transmitted) through the air film and is further reflected

from the upper surface of glass plate P . By Stokes law this reflected ray has a

phase reversal of at the air-glass interface. These two rays reflected from the top

and the bottom part of the air film are derived from the same incident ray and

are therefore coherent. Since these two coherent rays are very close to each other,

they interfere to produce dark and bright concentric circular fringes around the

centre of the lens O. The condition of bright and dark fringes depend on the path

difference between the interfering rays which in turn depends on the thickness of

the air film at the point of incidence.

7.3 Mathematical Interpretation for the formation of Newtons rings

28

L rn

P

N

t

G

Q M

ty

es

us

Let t be the thickness of the air film at a point P on the plano-convex lens and Q

ot

on the glass plate, be the wavelength of the incident light and R be the radius

Pr

sN

of curvature of the plano convex lens. The optical path difference (see equation

33) between the two interfering waves is given by

an

as

= 2 t cos r. (56)

oh

Cl

If the incidence light is normal to the top surface of the plano convex lens then

i = 0 and so r = 0. In this case = 2 t. Now as one of the rays travel from

am

equivalent to having an additional path difference of /2. Taking this we have the

an

.M

For constructive interference the total path difference o = n, which provides

Dr

2 t /2 = n 2 t = (2 n + 1) . (57)

2

For destructive interference the total path difference o = (2n 1)/2, which

provides the condition for dark fringes to be

2 t /2 = (2n 1) 2 t = n . (58)

2

For determining 2 t, we consider that there is a nth order fringe located at P Q

having film thickness t. Let the radius of the circular fringe be N P = M Q = rn .

7.4 Determination of wavelength or the radius of curvature of a lens

29

OP 2 = P N 2 + ON 2

R2 = rn2 + (R t)2 = rn2 + R2 + t2 2Rt

rn2 = 2Rt t2 2Rt ( R t)

r2 d2

2t = n = n , (59)

R 4R

where dn is the diameter of the nth ring. Substituting this value into the equations

for bright and dark fringes we obtain for nth order bright fringe

d2n

= (2n + 1)

4R 2

s

1 4R

dn = n+

2

ty

s

es

1

dn n+ (60)

us

ot

2

Pr

sN

an

d2n n

as

=

4R

oh

Cl

s

n 4R

dn =

am

dn n (61)

an

.M

Consider two dark rings nth order and mth order formed in an air film ( = 1),

then they satisfy the following equations

Dr

Subtracting we get

d2m d2n = 4 R (m n)

d2m d2n d2m d2n

= or R = . (63)

4 R (m n) 4 (m n)

Similar results can be obtained for the bright rings. In the experimental arrange-

ment of the Newtons rings, the diameters dm and dn of the mth and nth dark rings

7.5 Determination of refractive index of a liquid by Newtons rings30

B

d2mD

Diameter2

d2m d2n

d2n C

n m

mn

E F

A Number of rings

Figure 13: Variation of the square of the diameter with respect to the number of

fringes for a Newtons ring experiment.

are noted with a travelling microscope. The radius of curvature of the lens R can

ty

be measured using spherometer. Thus wavelength of the incident light can be

es

found out. In a similar way if we know the wavelength of the incident light, then

us

ot

the radius of curvature of the lens can also be determined.

d2 d2n

For accuracy the values of m

Pr

sN

mn

between the number of rings and the square of the corresponding diameters, as

an

there are many rings formed with increasing diameters. One such graph is shown

as

in figure 13. From the graph we can measure the slope of the straight line AB

oh

Cl

which is

CD d2 d2n

= m

am

slope = . (64)

EF mn

This value can be used to determine either the wavelength of the source or the

an

.M

The plane convex lens and the plate glass plate arranged to form Newtons rings

Dr

is taken within a container and the light is made to incident on the lens. First

Newtons rings are formed when there is an air film between the lens and the plate.

The diameters of the dark rings are formed by using travelling microscope. Then

d2m d2n

slopeair =

= 4 R. (65)

mn

Now the liquid whose refractive index is to be measured is poured into the

container slowly without disturbing the whole arrangement. Again the diameters

of the dark rings are measured and the slope is determined. Then

d02m d02n 4 R

slopemedium = = . (66)

mn

8 Michelson Interferometer 31

Using the above two equations we can determine the refractive index of the liquid

medium to be

slopeair

= . (67)

slopemedium

8 Michelson Interferometer

The Michelson interferometer is one of the best known examples of amplitude

splitting interferometers that utilise the arrangement of mirrors and beam splitters.

This is illustrated in figure 14. Light from the source S is incident at an angle of 45o

on a half-silvered rear-surface of the beam splitter P at point A. The beam splitter

divides the wave into two. The transmitted ray passes through the compensator

C, reflects from the stationary mirror M2 and returns through the compensator to

point A where it reflects to the observer O. Meanwhile, the reflected ray traverses

P , reflects from movable mirror M1 , passes through P and recombines with the

transmitted ray, as it goes to observer O. Note that the light reflected beam

ty

es

passes through the beam splitter three times, where as without the compensator

us

the transmitted beam traverses only once. Consequently, each beam will pass

ot

through equal thickness of glass only when the compensator C is inserted in the

Pr

sN

of the beam splitter, with the exception of any possible silvering. It ensures that

an

both beams travel the same distance in glass. It is positioned at an angle of 45o ,

as

oh

Cl

am

an

.M

Dr

8.1 Formation of interference fringes in Michelson Interferometer 32

so that the beam splitter and the compensator are parallel to each other.

Lets assume that the light source is monochromatic having wavelength and

is the inclination of the incident beam with respect to the optical axis. Then the

transmitted rays and the reflected rays are going to interfere with a path difference

of

= 2(AN AM ) cos = 2 d cos , (68)

where AN AM = d is the difference in the distance between the positions of the

mirrors M1 and M2 with respect to point A. Again there is an additional phase

difference of between the rays AN and AM , because of the fact that AN is

internally reflected from the beam splitter while AM is externally reflected from

the point A. Thus, the condition for constructive interference is

ty

2 d cos = n 2 d cos = (2n + 1) , (69)

es

2 2

us

ot

and the condition for destructive interference is

Pr

sN

2 d cos = (2n + 1) 2 d cos = m (70)

2 2

an

as

where m, n are integers. For a normal beam = 0 and the above condition changes

oh

Cl

to 2 d = m , for a dark fringe. Similarly for a normal beam the condition of bright

fringe is 2 d cos = (2n + 1) (/2). Thus the fringes formed are bright and dark

am

an

.M

Case 1 : When d = 0

When both the mirrors M1 and M2 are at equal distance from point A i.e., they

are symmetrically placed then = 0 = 0 . Thus, the central fringe will be a dark

Dr

fringe.

Case 2 : When d =

4

If the mirror M1 is moved such that d = (/4), then for normal incidence =

2 (/4) = /2 which correspond to the condition of a bright fringe. Thus, the

central position will become a bright fringe. Further movement of the mirror M1

by a distance /4 will provide = 2 (/4 + /4) = corresponding to a dark

fringe at the centre. Thus we conclude that as the mirror M1 is moved parallel to

themselves then the centre point changes from dark to bright alternatively.

Case 3 : When 6= 0

When we observe the fringe pattern with an oblique incidence 6= 0, then =

8.2 Applications of Michelsons interferometer 33

then

2 d cos = constant

1

cos . (71)

d

So as d increases the fringes appear as they are expanding radially outward from

center.

8.2.1 Determination of wavelength of a monochromatic light wave

For normal incidence = 0

2 d = m, (72)

where m is an integer. Now mirror M1 is moved parallel to itself by a distance 4x

ty

es

and the number of fringes, n crossing the field of view are counted, then

us

ot

2 d = m

Pr

sN

By subtraction, we obtain

an

as

2 4x = n

oh

Cl

2 4x

= . (74)

am

n

The above relation can be used to determine the wavelength of a monochromatic

an

light source.

.M

Sometimes the actual source is not monochromatic but is a mixture of two closely

Dr

lying wavelengths e.g., sodium produces two wavelengths 5890A and 5896A. Let

the two wavelengths be 1 and 2 . When such a source is used the resulting

interference pattern is the combinations of two interference pattern corresponding

to the two wavelengths. Thus, minima is the point for which both the wavelengths

provides destructive interference simultaneously. From such a point if the mirror

M1 is moved then the intensity will increase and again become a minimum. This

is the situation when one fringe corresponding to wavelength 1 is more than the

fringe of 2 in the field of view. Thus

24x = m1 1

24x = m2 2 = (m1 1)2 (75)

8.2 Applications of Michelsons interferometer 34

From the first equation m1 = 24x/1 which can be substituted into the second

equation to obtain

1 1

24x = 1

1 1

2 1 1

=

1 2 24x

1 2

2 1 =

24x

2av

= , (76)

24x

where, = 2 1 and 2 1 = av . This relation can be used to measure

small differences in wavelengths.

ty

es

If a transparent sheet of thickness t and refractive index is inserted in one of

us

ot

the beams of the Michelson interferometer, then that beam travels an optical path

Pr

sN

(t t) compared to air medium. But since the beam travels twice, the extra path

difference between the interfering beams is 2(t t) = 2t( 1). As a result there

an

as

is a shift in the number of fringes at the center of the interference pattern. Lets

oh

Cl

am

2t( 1) = m . (77)

It is difficult to measure the sudden shift in the number of fringes m which shifts,

an

when the transparent sheet is inserted in one of the beams. This difficulty is

.M

overcome with the help of white light. Initially white light is used to locate the

central dark fringe. The thin sheet is then inserted. As a result the nature of the

central fringe gets changed. The mirror M1 is then moved parallel till again a dark

Dr

fringe is at the centre. The distance x through which the mirror is moved is noted

down. The white light is now replaced with monochromatic light of wavelength

and the mirror M1 is moved back slowly while counting the number of fringes

shifted, m within the distance x. Then

x = 2t( 1) = m ,

m

t= . (78)

2( 1)

This method is used to measure the thickness of a thin transparent sheet using

Michelson interferometer.

9 Applications of Interference 35

9 Applications of Interference

The applications of interference is very wide. It can be used to measure wave-

lengths accurately up to eight significant digits. It also can be used for measuring

small displacements and to measure refractive indices of liquids and gases. In

addition to these the interference phenomena can be used for the following appli-

cations.

Certain machine components re-

quire that the surface of it should

be flat up to some extent to reduce

stress and fatigue. Thus surfaces

which are subjected to load rever-

sals or high pressure require to be

ty

es

smooth. The smoothness can be

quickly inspected visually by keep-

us

ot

Pr

sN

monochromatic light source. If the Figure 15: Interference pattern for different

an

component surface is smooth and type of flat surfaces (a) Concave surface, (b)

as

straight then the air wedge formed Perfectly flat surface and (c) Convex surface.

oh

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component produces straight, parallel and equidistant fringe. However if the

am

fringes are curved towards the contact edge the surface is concave and if the fringes

curve away from the apex, then the surface of the component is convex. This is

an

.M

It is essential to test the grinding

Dr

used for applications in telescopes

and other instruments. The grind-

ing of a lens surface is tested by

placing the lens on a master. The

master is an optical flat which is

Figure 16: Inspection of lenses using New-

a cylindrical disc made from fused

tons rings (a) Circular ring pattern indicat-

quartz. The two faces of the master

ing high quality grinding (b) Distorted ring

are perfectly parallel to each other

pattern indicating irregularities on the lens

and the departure from flatness is

surface.

9.3 Thickness of a Thin film coating 36

usually less than a light wavelength. If the lens is ground perfectly, Newton rings

of circular fringe patterns will be observed. However, if the grinding is not perfect,

then variation from circular shapes are observed (see figure 16) which provides an

indication of how the lens must be ground and polished to remove the imperfec-

tions.

Interference based on multiple reflections is used to determine the thickness of a

metallic or dielectric thin film which are often coated on optical components. For

this a partially coated substrate is used. This substrate and the thin film on it are

coated with a transparent metallic film of uniform thickness. Another glass plate is

also coated with the transparent metallic film. The coated substrate and the glass

plate are brought in contact with each other under a monochromatic light source.

The reflected light source shows interference fringes as shown in figure 17(b). We

observe a shift in the interference fringes as we pass from the region of transparent

ty

es

coated area to the region where the metallic film is present. The shift in fringes

us

is related to the change in path difference as we move from one region to another

ot

Pr

sN

one set of fringes with respect to the second set is given by

an

s

as

s = 2t t = . (79)

2

oh

Cl

So, by measuring the value of shift s in the formed fringes one can determine the

thickness of the thin film coating.

am

an

.M

Dr

Figure 17: (a)Setup for the determination of the thickness of a thin film coating.

(b) Nature of interference fringes formed using the setup.

Whenever a ray of light moves from one medium to another, some portion of the

light is reflected at the interface between the two media. The strength of the

9.4 Anti-reflection (AR) coating 37

reflection depends on the ratio of the refractive indices of the two media as well as

the angle of the surface to the beam of light. The exact value can be calculated

using the Fresnel equations.

When the light enters the interface at normal incidence, the intensity of light

reflected is given by the reflection coefficient or reflectance, R given by

2

1 2

R= . (80)

1 + 2

where 1 and 2 are the refractive indices of the first and second media respectively

(see figure 18 for an illustration). The value of the reflectance R varies from 0 (for

no reflection) to 1 (all light gets reflected). Complementary to R is the transmission

coefficient or transmittance, T . If absorption and scattering are neglected, then

the value T = 1R. So, when a beam of light with intensity I is incident on

the surface, a beam of intensity R I is reflected, and a beam with intensity T I is

transmitted into the medium.

When more surfaces are there,

ty

es

the number of reflections will also

us

be more thus reducing the amount

ot

Pr

sN

and cameras, which have multi-

an

as

to produce poor quality of image.

oh

Cl

tion of the light is reflected away

am

to these kind of losses, solar cells Figure 18: Reflection at the interface of two

an

have a less efficiency to produce

.M

electrical energy. Such losses can be reduced by coating the surface with a thin

transparent film of suitable thickness and refractive index. Such coatings are called

Dr

improves the efficiency of the system by reducing the amount of loss in light due

to reflection. Therefore, we can write that, An antireflective or anti-reflection

(AR) coating is a type of optical coating applied to the surface of lenses and other

optical elements to reduce reflection.

In 1935 Alexander Smakula discovered that the reflections from a surface can

be reduced by coating the surface with a thin transparent dielectric film. A film

can act as an AR coating if it satisfies the following conditions :

(a) Phase condition : The waves getting reflected from the top and bottom

surfaces of the film should be of opposite phase such that their superposition

produces destructive interference.

9.4 Anti-reflection (AR) coating 38

of equal amplitude such that the destructive interference is of zero intensity.

These conditions enable us to determine the thickness and the refractive index of

the material to be used for forming the AR coating.

Let the thickness of the AR coating film be t with a refractive index of 1 . This

film coated over another transparent medium of refractive index 2 . In order to

satisfy the phase condition between the reflected rays Ray 1 and Ray 2, which has

been obtained from the top and the bottom surfaces of the film (see figure 18),

the two rays must be out of phase by 180o . In other words they should maintain

a path difference of odd number of half waves, (2n + 1) /2. From the figure, if

the light is falling normally on the surface, the optical path difference between the

rays is given by

4 = 2 1 t /2 /2 = 2 1 t . (81)

ty

es

The two additional path differences of /2 are because there is a phase change

us

ot

for the ray 1 at the top surface of the film and another phase change at the

Pr

interface of film and the second medium of refractive index 2 . An additional path

sN

difference of does not change the original phase relation. Thus for destructive

interference between rays 1 and 2, requires

an

as

4 = 2 1 t = (2n + 1) .

oh

(82)

Cl

2

am

2 1 tmin = tmin = . (83)

an

2 4 1

This says that the optical thickness of the AR coating should be of one-quarter

.M

length of light and allows to pass into the transmitted medium.

Dr

The amplitude condition requires that the amplitudes of the rays 1 and 2 are equal.

This happens if 2 2

1 air 2 1

= . (84)

1 + air 2 + 1

We know that the refractive index of air air = 1. Substituting this and taking

square root on both sides of the above equation, we get

1 1 2 1

= , (85)

1 + 1 2 + 1

9.4 Anti-reflection (AR) coating 39

21 = 2 1 = 2 . (86)

This shows that the refractive index of the anti-reflection film 1 should be less

than the refractive index of the transmitted medium.

Normally the transmitted medium is glass having refractive index 2 = 1.5.

This gives the refractive index of the AR coating to be 1 = 1.5 = 1.22. Materials

having refractive index closer to his value are magnesium fluoride M gF2 ( = 1.38),

cryolite, 3N aF.AIF3 ( = 1.36). Apart from this refractive index requirement the

materials should be durable, should adhere well with the transmitted medium,

scratch proof and insoluble in ordinary solvents. M gF2 and cryolite satisfy these

conditions. However M gF2 is cheaper and hence widely used as AR coating.

Furthermore the conditions for AR coating is satisfied for a particular wave-

length. Normally the wavelength chosen is 550 nm, which is more sensitive to eye

and is located in the yellow-green region of the visible spectrum. So, when a white

ty

light is incident onto such a film, the reflection of red and violet will be larger.

es

This provides a purple hue when the component is observed in reflected light.

us

ot

Pr

sN

an

as

oh

Cl

am

an

.M

Dr

10 Introduction to Diffraction 40

10 Introduction to Diffraction

Some people believe it was Leonardo da Vinci who first observed diffraction. How-

ever around 1660 it was Grimaldi who discovered diffraction of light and gave it the

name diffraction which means breaking up. He interpreted diffraction on his own

way, but could not explain successfully the phenomenon. It was again Huygens

wave theory which provides a ready explanation of diffraction. Augustin-Jean Fres-

nel, a French physicist who believed in the wave theory of light, submitted a paper

in 1818 to the French Academy of sciences describing his experiments explaining

the wave-theory of diffraction. For this he received the prize of the Academie

des sciences at Paris. Later in 1823 Joseph von Fraunhoffer published his theory

of diffraction and demonstrated the accurate measurement of the wavelength of

light.

It is common experience that light travels in a straight line. However, if a

beam of light passes through a small opening it spreads to some extent to the

geometrical shadow regions. So if light is propagated as a wave then, just like

ty

es

sound waves, it bends around the edges of an opaque obstacle and illuminates

us

the geometrical shadow regions. This phenomenon is called diffraction os light.

ot

Pr

sN

use short waves (few metres), which do not diffract significantly around natural

barriers such as hills, buildings and cliffs. Thus receiving aerials must be aligned

an

to the transmitters. On the oher hand. long-wave radio signals (around 1km)

as

diffract around must of the objects and so can be received at places that lie within

oh

Cl

Thus, diffraction of light is the phenomenon of bending of light waves around

am

the corners of obstacle placed in its path and their spreading into the regions

of geometrical shadow. Diffraction phenomenon becomes prominent when the

an

It occurs due to mutual interference of secondary wavelets starting from portions

.M

of the primary wavefront, which are allowed to pass through the aperture. So, just

like interference, it also produces light and dark fringes.

Dr

Consider an opening of length d on which a plane wavefront is incident. For an

illustration see figure 19. When the opening is large compared to the wavelength,

as in case (a), the waves do not bend around the edges. Instead they travel in a

straight line. When the opening is small and comparable with the wavelength, as

in case (b), the bending effect around the edges is high and is noticeable. However

when the opening is very small, as in case (c), the waves spread over all the surface

behind the opening. So, the opening appears to act as an independent source of

wave i.e., a point source, propagating light in all directions. It shows that the

10.2 Fresnels explanation of diffraction 41

Figure 19: Dependence of the diffraction phenomenon on wavelength and the size

of the obstacle.

plane wave does not bend at the opening when d >> . Bending is considerable

when d and when >> d, the bending takes place to such an extent that

light can be perceived in a direction normal to the direction of propagation such

that the opening acts as a point source.

ty

Since the wavelength of light is very small compared to any physical obstacle,

es

it provides us the impression that light travels in a straight line. However, careful

us

ot

observations show that when light passing through tiny holes produce alternate

Pr

sN

regions of brightness and darkness beyond the region of the geometrical shadow.

Such pattern of alternate light and dark bands are called as diffraction pattern.

The bright central portion is called the central maxima and it is bounded by a

an

as

series of secondary maximas separated by dark band minimas. The alternate light

oh

Cl

and dark regions are formed due to interference of diffracted light waves. just like

interference, diffraction phenomenon is a fundamental concept demonstrating the

am

an

.M

diffraction by using Huygens principle of wave-

fronts (wavelets) in conjuction with the Youngs

Dr

that the appearance of bright and dark bands in

diffraction are due to the superposition and inter-

ference of waves. The points on the primary wave-

front are mutually coherent and the secondary

waves emitted by them are also coherent and in-

terfere to produce the diffraction pattern.

When a plane wavefront is incident on a slit,

a small portion of the wave is allowed to pass tho- Figure 20: Illustration of Fres-

rugh the slit. Each point on this broken wavefront nels explanation on diffraction

phenomena.

10.3 Types of diffraction 42

These secondary wavefronts then interfere mutually to produce bright and dark

fringes on the screen. Constructing the envelope of these secondary wavelets shows

that they spread into the geometrical shadow regions. This is illustrated in figure

20. Diffraction effects will be observed only when a narrow source is used and

a part of the wave is cut off by some obstacle. Therefore, it can be said that,

diffraction of light is the result of the superposition of waves from coherent sources

on the same wavefront, after the wavefront is distorted by some obstacle.

The diffraction phenomena are broadly classified into two types: Fresnel diffrac-

tion and Fraunhoffer diffraction.

ty

In this type of diffraction, the source of light and the screen are effectively at

es

finite distances from the obstacle as shown in figure 21(a). It does not require any

us

ot

lenses to make the rays of light parallel or convergent. Thus the incident and the

Pr

sN

diffracted wavefronts are not parallel. As a result the phases of secondary wavelets

are not the same at all points in the plane of the obstacle. It is experimentally

simple but the analysis proves to be very complex. The important points about

an

as

oh

Cl

(i) The source of the screen or both are at finite distance from the diffracting

am

an

(iii) The incident wavefront is not plane but it is either cylindrical (for a line

.M

(iv) The phase of the secondary waves is not the same at all the points in the

Dr

(v) The resultant amplitude at any point on the screen is obtained by mutual

interference of secondary waves from different elements of exposed part of

wavefronts.

(vi) In this type of diffraction, distances are important that the angular inclina-

tions.

(vii) The analysis of this type of diffractions can be carried out with approxima-

tions only.

10.3 Types of diffraction 43

Figure 21: Conditions for (a) Fresnel diffraction and (b) Fraunhoffer diffraction.

ty

es

In this type of diffraction, the source of the light and the screen are effectively

us

ot

at infinite distances from the obstacle. The conditions required for this type of

Pr

sN

diffraction is achieved by using two convex lenses, one to make the light beam

parallel from the source and other to focus the light onto the screen as shown in

figure 21(b). As such, the incident wavefront and the secondary wavelets, which

an

as

originated from the unblocked positions of the wavefront, are in the same phase

oh

Cl

at every point in the plane of the obstacle. The diffraction is produced due to

interference of parallel secondary wavefronts which are focused onto the screen by a

am

convex lens. Since the rays are parallel, therefore, the mathematics involved in the

analysis of this type of diffraction is simple. The important points of Fraunhoffer

an

diffraction are

.M

(i) The source and the screen are effectively at infinite distance from the diffract-

ing element (aperture or obstacle).

Dr

(ii) The arrangement of two convex lenses makes the source and the screen at

infinity fro teh obstacle. One of the convex lens is used to make the light

from the source parallel before it falls on the aperture and the other convex

lens is used to focus the light after diffraction on the screen.

(iii) The incident wavefront is plane and the secondary waves originating from

the exposed part of the wavefront are in the same phase at every point in the

plane of the aperture.

(iv) The diffraction is produced by interference between parallel waves which are

brought to focus with a convex lens.

11 Resultant of multiple simple harmonic motions 44

(v) In Fraunhoffer diffraction, angular inclinations are important than the dis-

tances.

(vi) This type of diffractions can be analysed with more accuracy in analytical

terms.

Let us assume that a particle is simultaneously acted

upon by n simple harmonic motion (SHM) vibrations.

All the vibrations have same amplitude A and repre-

sents the phase difference between successive vibrations.

Figure 22 represents the schematic diagram of such vi-

brations. A phase difference of exists between BC and

CD, CD and DE, etc. Thus the phase difference be-

tween DE and BC is 2 , between EF and BC is 3 ,

ty

es

etc. To determine the resultant amplitude R and phase

us

, let us resolve the individual amplitudes along BC and Figure 22: Resultant of

ot

Pr

sN

along BC is

R cos = A [1 + cos + cos 2 + cos 3 + . . . + cos (n 1)] (87)

an

as

and

oh

Cl

Multiplying equation (87) by 2 sin(/2) yields

am

2 R cos sin = A [2 sin + 2 cos sin + . . . + 2 cos (n 1) sin ]

2 2 2 2

an

which leads to

.M

3

2 R cos sin = A 2 sin + sin sin

2 2 2 2

Dr

(2n 1) (2 n 3)

+ ... + sin sin

2 2

resulting in

(2 n 1)

2 R cos sin = A sin + sin .

2 2 2

Further simplification gives

n (n 1)

2 R cos sin = 2 A sin cos

2 2 2

sin (n/2) (n 1)

R cos = A cos . (89)

sin (/2) 2

11 Resultant of multiple simple harmonic motions 45

Multiplying equation (88) by 2 sin(/2) and going through the same simplification

process, we will obtain

sin (n/2) (n 1)

R sin = A sin . (90)

sin (/2) 2

Squaring equations (89) and (90) and adding, we have the value of resultant am-

plitude R to be

2

2 2 sin (n/2) sin (n/2)

R =A R=A . (91)

sin (/2) sin (/2)

Now dividing equation (90) by equation (89), we obtain

(n 1)

tan = tan ,

2

providing the resultant phase angle = (n1)/2. In the limit of n becoming very

ty

large and the amplitudes A and the phase difference extremely small quantities,

es

we can further simplify the expressions for the resultant amplitude R and the net

us

ot

phase difference to

Pr

sN

R = A A = nA = A0 (92)

sin (/n) (/n)

an

as

(n 1) n

and = = , (93)

oh

Cl

2 2

where we have assumed = n /2 and A0 = n A.

am

The same results can be obtained by using complex numbers. For this we note

that equation (87) can be written as

an

.M

n1

X 1 ei n

= A Real ei k = A Real (94)

k=0

1 e

Dr

1 rn

1 + r + r2 + . . . + rn1 = .

1r

Now

1 ei n ei n /2 (ei n /2 ei n /2 ) sin (n/2) i (n1) /2

i

= i /2 i /2 i /2

= e .

1e e (e e ) sin (/2)

Therefore, equation (94) becomes

sin (n/2) sin (n/2) (n 1)

R cos = A Real ei (n1) /2 = A cos . (95)

sin (/2) sin (/2) 2

12 Fraunhoffer diffraction from a single slit 46

R sin = A Im ei + ei 2 + ei 3 + . . . + ei (n1)

sin (n/2) i (n1) /2 sin (n/2) (n 1)

= A Im e 1 = sin .

sin (/2) sin (/2) 2

12.1 Arrangement

To obtain a Fraunhoffer diffraction

pattern two convex lenses are used,

one is to get a parallel beam of light

(plane waves) from the source and the

other is to converge the parallel beam

ty

onto the screen as shown in figure 23.

es

In this arrangement,slit AB of width d

us

ot

is illuminated by using a parallel beam

of monochromatic light of wavelength

Pr

sN

focused onto the screen by the convex

an

as

lenx L2 .

As per the geometrical optics we

oh

Cl

should get a sharp image of the slit Figure 23: Schematic arrangement for

on the screen. However, a diffraction Fraunhoffer diffraction from a single slit.

am

band (at O) surrounded by alternate dark and bright bands of decreasing intensity

an

.M

12.2 Theory

Dr

ondary wavelets sending light in all directions. These secondary wavefronts trav-

elling at an angle = 0 i.e., in the direction of incident beam, comes to focus

at point O and forms the central bright spot. This is because of the fact that

all the secondary wavelets are equidistant from the point O. As such the path

difference is zero. It enhances the intensity of light at the point central spot O.

However at other point P , different waves travel different paths due to the fact

that they make an angle with respect to horizontal axis. As such the intensity

at point P depends on the path difference between secondary waves emitted from

the wavefronts originated at the slit. Let us try to understand the reasons for this

type of distribution of intensity.

12.3 Qualitative Analysis 47

12.3.1 Formation of Central Maxima

When a parallel beam of light falls on the slit AB, according to Huygens principle,

each point on AB acts as a source and generate secondary wavelets. Thus all points

constituting AB act as a string of point sources. Since all these points on AB are

in phase, the point sources will be coherent. Therefore, the optical path difference

between the lower and upper portions reaching the central spot O of the slit will be

zero i.e., the waves will be in phase. This produces the zero order central maxima

at point O.

Now consider the secondary waves travelling in a direction making an angle

from the horizonal axis. It is convenient to divide the wavefront into two equal

halves AE and EB as shown in figure 24(a). A line AC is drawn perpendicular to

ty

es

the direction of the diffracted ray BCP . Now the wave BC travels farther than

the wave ED. Using simple geometry, we can calculate that the path difference

us

ot

between these two waves is ED = (d/2) sin . If ED = /2, the two waves will

Pr

sN

interfere destructively and will produce a dark spot. For every point in AE, there

is a corresponding point in EB for which the path difference will be /2. Hence

an

the waves from the upper half of the slit AE interfere destructively with waves

as

oh

Cl

d

sin = d sin = . (96)

am

2 2

This produces zero intensity at point P called the first order minimum of the

an

diffraction pattern. We can divide the slit into four parts, six parts, eight parts

and so on. Similar arguments as above will then produce dark bands whenever

.M

Dr

These are known as second, third, fourth etc order minima respectively. These

minimas are symmetric about the central maxima i.e., there will be minimas at

an angle in the opposite side of the central maxima. So, in general we can say

that nth order minima occurs if the following condition is satisfied

In addition to the central maxima, there are secondary maximas, which lie in

between the secondary minimas on either side of the central maxima. In order to

understand how they occur, we divide the slit into three equal parts. The secondary

12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative 48

Figure 24: Conditions for (a) first order minimum and (b) first order maximum in

Fraunhoffer single slit diffraction pattern

ty

es

us

ot

waves generated from the upper two parts cancel each other due to destructive

Pr

interference. However, the waves generated form the third region interfere to

sN

produce a maxima at point P . Thus, if (d/3) sin = /2 then it produces the first

order maxima. This is explained using figure 24(b). This means the condition for

an

as

oh

Cl

d 3

sin = d sin = . (99)

3 2 2

am

Similarly we can divide the slit into five, seven,. . . etc parts to produce second,

third,. . . etc orders of secondary maximas respectively for

an

5 7

d sin = , , . . . , etc. (100)

.M

2 2

In general the condition for nth order secondary maxima is

Dr

(2 n + 1)

d sin = . (101)

2

As the order of secondary maxima increases its intensity decreases rapidly.

To summarize, the Fraunhoffer diffraction pattern from a single slit consists

of a central maximum at O surrounded alternatively by secondary maximas and

minimas on both the sides.

In order to understand quantitatively the distribution of intensities in Fraunhoffer

single slit diffraction pattern, let us assume that a plane wave is incident normally

12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative 49

on the slit of width d. According to Huygens principle each point inside the slit

acts as a source of secondary wavelets. So, let us imagine that this slit is divided

into N equal parts each of width 4x = d/N . Let the amplitude of wave originating

from each part be A. The path difference originating from any two consecutive

parts is 4x sin which is equivalent to having a phase difference of

2 4x sin 2 d sin

= = . (102)

N

Thus the disturbances reaching at point P from the first, second, third,. . . , nth part

of the slit are A cos t, A cos (t + ), A cos (t + 2 ), . . . , A cos (t + (n 1) )

respectively. By the principle of superposition, the total disturbance at point

P is the sum of the individual disturbances reaching at point P . Following the

procedure given in section (11), we can find that the resultant amplitude of the

superposed wave is

sin d sin

sin (n/2)

R=A =A .

ty

sin(/2) sin dNsin

es

us

Let us assume that = d sin /, then the above equation simplifies to

ot

Pr

sN

R=A

A =NA = A0 . (103)

sin N N

an

as

where, we have assumed N to be very large such that A, /N are very small and the

product N A = A0 always remains finite. Now since the intensity is proportional

oh

Cl

am

2

sin2

2 sin

I R = A0 I = I0 , (104)

2

an

variation of intensity distribution as a function of angle is shown in figure 25(a).

.M

Dr

3 5 7 2 4 6

A0

R= + + . . . = A0 1 + + ... ,

3! 5! 7! 3! 5! 7!

which shows that R maximises to A0 for = 0 i.e., if

d sin

= = 0 or sin = 0 = 0. (105)

This means that for = 0 i.e, when the secondary wavelets travel normal to the

slit, it results in the principal maxima on the screen whose intensity is proportional

to the square of the amplitude i.e., I = Imax A20 .

12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative 50

From equation (104), we can see that the intensity will be minimum if sin = 0

but 6= 0 ( = 0 provides the condition for principal maxima). This leads to

= , 2 , 3 , . . . = n (where n = 1, 2, 3, . . .) . (106)

Since = d sin /, it leads to

d sin

= n d sin = n , (107)

where n = 1, 2, 3, . . .. Note that n = 0 leads to = 0, which is the position of

principal maxima. These positions of minima are in agreement with the values

obtain qualitatively. It shows that positions of minimum intensity are formed on

either side of the principal maxima.

ty

es

Between any two consecutive minimas there is a secondary maxima. The condition

us

ot

for the secondary maxima can be obtained from the intensity distribution

2

Pr

sN

sin

I = I0 .

an

as

dI

Differentiation with respect to leads to = 0, at the position of minima and

d

oh

Cl

am

= I0 . =0 (108)

d 2

an

.M

The first condition sin = 0 provides the position of principal maxima for = 0

Dr

Therefore the second condition cos sin = 0 or tan = provides the

conditions for secondary maxima. The values of satisfying this equation are

obtained graphically by plotting the curves y = and y = tan on the same

graph. The points of intersection of the two curves provides the values of for

which it is a secondary maxima.

The graphical illustration of solutions for secondary maxima is shown in figure

25(b). It shows that the points of intersections for which the intensity is a maxima

are approximately given by

3 5

0, , ,... (110)

2 2

Classnotes by Dr. Manamohan Prusty

12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative 51

y = Intensity, I()

sin2

I()

2

(b)

y=

y = tan

5 3 1 1 3 5

2 2 2 2 2 2

ty

es

us

ot

Pr

sN

Figure 25: (a) Variation of intensity in single slit diffraction pattern as a function

of . (b) Plots of y = and y = tan which determines the positions of secondary

an

as

oh

Cl

am

which are in good agreement with the qualitative analysis showing that the nth

order secondary maxima occur at positions n = (2 n + 1)/2. More exact values

an

.M

Note that = 0 is the condition for central maxima. Furthermore, it shows that

Dr

the secondary maxima do not fall exactly at the midway between two minima, but

they are displaced slightly towards the centre of the pattern. Now substituting

these values of into the expression of intensity distribution for the secondary

maxima provides

sin2 1.430

I1 = I0 = 0.0472 I0 ,

(1.430 )2

sin2 2.462

I2 = I0 = 0.0165 I0 ,

(2.462 )2

sin2 3.471

I3 = I0 = 0.0083 I0 , (112)

(3.471 )2

12.4 Intensity distribution - Quantitative 52

for intensities of the first, second and third order secondary maxima respectively.

Further we can see that the intensity of the first, second and third order maxima

are 4.72%, 1.65%, and 0.83% of the central maxima intensity respectively. It shows

that the intensities decreases rapidly and most of the incident light energy is con-

centrated at the principal maxima. Generally the secondary maxima are too faint

to be visible ordinarily.

screen

Let us assume that the distance of first order slit

minimum from the centre of the principal max-

imum be x (shown in figure 26), then the width

of the central maximum is W = 2 x. Now the

condition for the first order minima to occur at

x

an angle from the horizontal axis is

d

ty

D

es

1

d sin = = sin , (113)

d

us

ot

Pr

sN

2 sin1 (/d). If the lens is very near to the

an

as

D is the distance from the slit to the screen Figure 26: Determination of

oh

Cl

(usually its the focal length of the lens), then width of the central maxima for

tan = x/D. Since, is small tan sin . single slit diffraction pattern.

am

This gives

x D

an

= x= . (114)

D d d

Hence the linear width W of the central maximum is given by

.M

2D

W = 2x = . (115)

Dr

d

Note that when the slit width d >> we see, on the screen, uniform illumination in

the shape of the slit. As the slit width is reduced, the illumination starts to spread

out and dark bands become visible. Further, the width of the central maximum

increases as the slit gets narrower.

The position of the nth (n = 1, 2, 3, . . .) order secondary maxima on either side

of the central maxima is given by d sin n = (2 n+1) /2. Therefore, in these cases

xn (2 n + 1) (2 n + 1) D

= width W = 2 xn = . (116)

D 2d d

13 Fraunhoffer diffraction from a double slit 53

13.1 Arrangement

Consider two slits S1 = AB and S2 = CD of

equal widths d separated by a distance b. Thus,

the distance between the middle points of the

two slits is d + b. A monochromatic light of

wavelength is incident normally on the two

slits. Secondary wavelets are generated at the

two slits due to diffraction and they travel in all

directions. Further these secondary wavelets

superimpose and interference occurs. A col-

lecting lens collects this interference beam of

light and focuses onto the screen as shown in

figure 27. So, the diffraction due to two slits is

Figure 27: Arrangement for

ty

the result of combination of two parts (a) the

es

Fraunhoffer diffraction from a

diffraction pattern due to secondary wavelets

us

ot

double slit.

emanating from individual slits and (b) inter-

Pr

sN

ference phenomenon due to secondary wavelets generated from both the slits.

Thus, on the screen we obtain a diffraction pattern on which a system of interfer-

ence fringes are superposed. For calculation of positions of maxima and minima,

an

as

the angle is taken between the direction of the incident beam and the direction

oh

Cl

am

an

respect to the direction of incident beam. A line AN is drawn perpendicular to

.M

minima we determine the path different between the secondary waves generated

at point A and at point B which is BN = d sin . Now from the analysis of

Dr

provides the direction of diffraction minima. Similarly, for the same direction

of the secondary wavelets generated from the slit CD also provides zero intensity.

Thus in general if

d sin = n , n = 1, 2, 3, . . . (117)

provides the values of for which diffraction minima occurs. In between any

two minimas there will be diffraction minima. However, the nature of diffraction

maxima depends on the interference of the diffraction patterns emanating from

the individual slits.

13.3 Interference maxima and minima 54

In order to know the positions of interference maxima and minima, we draw a

line AM perpendicular to the direction of the secondary wavelet generated at

C travelling in the direction of CM P . The path difference between any two

corresponding wavefronts, generated from the two slits, travelling at an angle is

CM = (b + d) sin . From the analysis of interference we know that if this path

difference is an odd multiple of /2, then the direction provides a minima. This

means if

(2 n + 1)

CN = (b + d) sin = , (n = 1, 2, 3, . . .) (118)

2

then the corresponding angular values provides the direction of corresponding min-

ima.

On the other hand, if the secondary waves travel in a direction 0 for which

the path difference CM is even multiple of /2, then it provides the direction of

interference maxima. Thus if

ty

2n

es

CN = (b + d) sin 0 = = n , (n = 1, 2, 3, . . .) (119)

us

2

ot

Pr

sN

Taking any two consecutive minimas, we find that the difference

an

as

(2 n + 3) (2 n + 1)

sin n+1 sin n n+1 n = = . (120)

oh

Cl

2 (b + d) 2 (b + d) b+d

am

0 (n + 1) n

sin n+1 sin n0 n+1

0

n0 = = . (121)

an

(b + d) (b + d) b+d

.M

Thus, the angular seperation between any two consecutive minima (maxima) is

/(b + d), which shows that the angular separation is inversely proportional to the

central distance between the two slits.

Dr

The intensity distribution of the Fraunhoffer diffraction from two slits is shown

in figure 29(c). The shaded regions are the equally spaced interference maxima and

minima while the dotted curve is the curve due to diffraction only. We observe that,

the regions of diffraction maxima there are equally spaced interference maxima and

minima with decreasing intensity. In order to understand these let us determine

the intensity distribution of the double slit diffraction pattern mathematically.

By Huygens principle, light is incident normally on the slits AB and CD every

point on them sends secondary wavelets in all directions, i.e., light gets diffracted.

13.4 Intensity distribution 55

We know, from the diffraction of single slit, that the resultant amplitude R1 of the

diffracted wavelet travelling in a direction from the incident beam is

sin d sin

R1 = A0 , where = . (122)

These wavelets, from both the slits, travelling

in the direction interfere and meet at point

P to produce the double slit diffraction pattern. R R2

The path difference between these two diffracted

wavelets is CM = (d + b) sin . The correspond-

ing phase difference is R1

2 (d + b) sin

= . (123) Figure 28: Vector addition of

two vectors having amplitudes

To find the resultant amplitude at P we use vec- R1 , R2 and a phase difference

ty

tor addition in which the two sides of a triangle between them.

es

are represented by equal amplitudes R1 = R2 =

us

ot

A0 sin / with a phase angle between them (refer to figure 28). Using the law

Pr

sN

of vector addition

an

as

2 2 2

sin sin sin

= A0 + A0 + 2 A0 cos

oh

Cl

sin2 2

2 sin

am

2 2

an

sin2 (d + b) sin

= 4 A20 2

cos2 , where = = . (124)

2

.M

So, the resultant intensity Id for the double slit Fraunhoffer diffraction becomes

Dr

sin2

Id = 4 I0 cos2 , (125)

2

where I0 is the peak intensity of the single slit diffraction pattern. We can observe

that this expression is the product of two factors

(a) I0 sin2 /2 represents the intensity distribution of the single slit diffraction

pattern, and

13.4 Intensity distribution 56

Intensity

Intensity I()

2

sin2

Intensity Id cos2

2

ty

es

2 1

us

0 1 2

ot

Pr

sN

Figure 29: (a) Intensity distribution of only the single slit diffraction pattern,

(b) Intensity distribution of only the double slit interference pattern and (c) Com-

an

bined effect of interference and diffraction providing the intensity distribution of

as

the Fraunhoffer double slit diffraction pattern. The envelope of the double slit

oh

Cl

am

an

As discussed, the diffraction term sin2 /2 gives the position of central maxima at

.M

the centre of the screen with alternate minima and maxima of decreasing intensities

on either side of it. Since = d sin /, we know that for = 0 we obtain the

central maxima. For sin = 0 d sin = n with n = 1, 2, 3, . . . we obtain

Dr

tan = i.e., approximately for (2 n + 1) /2 with n = 1, 2, 3, . . ..

The interference term cos2 with = (d + b) sin / gives the equidistant bright

and dark fringes. The maxima will occur if cos2 = 1 i.e., for = n or

(d + b) sin = n with n = 0, 1, 2, . . . the interference fringes will be a maxima.

Similarly minima occurs if cos2 = 0 i.e., for = (2 n + 1) /2 or (d + b) sin =

(2 n + 1) /2 with n = 0, 1, 2, . . . the fringes are minima.

13.4 Intensity distribution 57

When both the diffraction and interference effects gets combined, we get the

resultant distribution of the double slit diffraction pattern as shown in figure 29.

It is found that the resultant intensities at the minima are not exactly equal to

zero due to interference effects. The resultant pattern contains the interference

spectrum within the envelope of the single slit diffraction pattern.

Depending on the relative values of the slit width d and the slit separation distance

b, certain orders of interference maxima will be missing in the resultant pattern.

This occurs because the interference maxima falls at the minima of of the single

slit diffraction. Since, the resultant amplitudes of these minima are zero, they

interfere constructively to provide only a minima in the resultant pattern. The

positions of diffraction minima occurs in the direction satisfying the condition

d sin = n , (126)

ty

es

and the positions of interference maxima occurring in the same direction satisfy

us

ot

(d + b) sin = m . (127)

Pr

sN

an

as

d n d+b

= m= n. (128)

oh

Cl

d+b m d

am

This is the condition for the mth order maxima to be missing in the double slit

diffraction pattern. Now consider certain cases

an

Case 1: when d = b

.M

It shows that if the slit width d and slit separation distance b are of equal

Dr

the resultant pattern.

Case 2: when d = 2 b

Thus, if the slit separation distance become twice the slit width then 3, 6, 9, . . .

orders of interference maxima will be absent in the resultant pattern.

14 Difference between Interference and Diffraction 58

Case 3: when d + b = d

for all n values of diffraction all m values of interference will be absent. So,

when two slits join i.e., when b = 0, then all of the interference maxima will

be missing in the resultant intensity pattern. Therefore, the pattern on the

screen will be only due to diffraction alone.

Equipped with the above understandings of interference and diffraction, we elabo-

rate the main points of difference between interference and diffraction in table (1).

ty

es

Sl. No. Interference Diffraction

us

ot

Pr

sN

of light waves coming from two different light waves coming from different parts

coherent sources. of the same wave front.

an

2. Interference fringes may or may not be The diffraction fringes are never of same

as

oh

Cl

minimum intensity are perfectly dark. sity are not perfectly dark.

am

same intensity. varying intensity with maximum inten-

sity for the central maximum.

an

5 The maxima occur when the path dif- The minima occurs at path difference of

ferences between the two waves is n n and the maxima at the path differ-

.M

and the minima at path differences of ence of (2n + 1) /2 between the waves

(2n + 1) /2. from the ends of the slit.

Dr

Let us consider N parallel slits, each of width d placed in a plane with the distance b

between any two adjacent slits. Thus the separation distance between consecutive

points between any two consecutive slits is a = d + b. Such a device consisting

of a large number of parallel slits of same width separated from one another by

equal spaces is called a diffraction grating. The distance a is called the grating

period.

15.1 Intensity distribution 59

As before we assume that, a plane wavefront

of monochromatic light having wavelength

is incident normally on the N-slits of the

grating as shown in figure 30. Each point

on the N slits sends secondary wavelets in

all directions and hence they superpose, by

focusing hem using a convex lens, to show

bright and dark regions on the screen. This

pattern obtained on the screen is known as

N-slit diffraction spectrum. All the light

rays which travel in the same direction of

the incident beam are in phase. So when

they meet at point O on the screen, it pro-

duces the central maxima.

ty

Now let us consider the secondary waves

es

travelling in a direction which makes an an- Figure 30: Fraunhoffer diffraction of

us

ot

gle with respect to the incident beam. The a plane wave incident normally on a

secondary waves originating from each point multiple slit.

Pr

sN

perpose at the point P on the screen. The nature of intensity at P will depend on

an

as

the path difference bettween secondary waves generated from the corresponding

oh

Cl

points of two neighbouring slits. The path difference between any two correspond-

ing points of two neighbouring slits is (d + b) sin = a sin . Corresponding phase

am

the wavelength then the point P will be of maximum intensity. This means the

an

.M

a sin = n . (129)

Between any two consecutive maxima there will be a minima on the screen. Thus

Dr

the point at P will be a minima if the path difference satisfies the condition

a sin = (2 n + 1) /2 . (130)

know that there is superposition of N diffracted beams (from N -slits) each of

amplitude A = A0 sin / (with = d sin /) interfering each other at an

angle at point P on the screen. As discussed above the phase difference between

any two successive waves is = 2 (d + b) sin /. The resultant amplitude at

point P is determined using the principle of superposition to be

R = A cos w t+A cos[w t+]+A cos[w t+2 ]+. . .+A cos[w t+(N 1) ]. (131)

15.1 Intensity distribution 60

Expressing the amplitude terms as real parts of a complex number, we can write

the resultant complex amplitude in terms of the sum of a geometric series

1 eiN

R = A ei w t 1 + ei + ei2 + ei3 + . . . + ei(N 1) = A ei w t

. (132)

1 ei

To obtain the intensity we multiply this with its complex conjugate, giving

(1 eiN )(1 eiN ) 1 cos N

I = R2 = A2 i i

= A2

(1 e )(1 e ) 1 cos

2

2 2

2 sin (N /2) sin sin N

= A = I0 , (133)

sin2 (/2) 2 sin2

where, as in the double slit, I0 = A20 , = /2 = (d + b) sin / and =

d sin /. We can observe, upon substitution of N = 2 in this formula, that it

readily reduces to the intensity distribution of the double slit.

ty

The expression for the intensity distribution consist of two terms

es

(a) The first term I0 sin2 /2 is the intensity distribution of a single slit diffrac-

us

ot

tion. So, this term is due to the contribution of diffraction occurring at each

Pr

sN

slit.

(b) The second term sin2 N / sin2 is the distribution of intensity due to inter-

an

as

oh

Cl

am

also becomes zero. Hence the second term becomes indeterminate. However, using

an

.M

sin N

lim = N, (134)

m sin

Dr

(d + b) sin

= = n (d + b) sin = n . (135)

This equation is known as the grating equation. The resultant intensity at these

points is given by

sin2

I = I02 N 2 , (136)

2

where

d sin d n nd

= = = . (137)

(d + b) d+b

15.1 Intensity distribution 61

Such maxima are called as principal maxima. Physically, at these maxima the

fields produced by each of the slits are in phase, and therefore, they add providing

the resultant field to be N times the field produced by each of the slits. For n = 0

we have = 0. In this direction we get the zero order principal maxima. If we

substitute n = 1, 2, 3 . . . then we obtain the first, second, third, . . . order principal

maxima respectively.

From equation (133), we can easily see that the intensity is zero when either

which corresponds to the minima of the single slit diffraction pattern or when

(d + b) sin

sin N = 0 N = N = m

ty

es

N (d + b) sin = m . (139)

us

ot

Here m can take all integer values except 0, N, 2N, 3N, . . .. This is because these

Pr

sN

corresponding to the later minima satisfy the equation

an

as

2 (N 1) (N + 1)

(d + b) sin = , ,..., , ,

oh

Cl

N N N N

(N + 2) (2N 1) (2N + 1)

am

N N N

an

N 2N 3N

.M

N N N

Thus between any two principal maxima we have N 1 minima. Between any

Dr

two such consecutive minima, the intensity has to be maximum. These maxima

are called as secondary maxima. As the number of slits become very large,

the intensity of the secondary maxima diminishes and therefore are not visible

in the grating spectra. As there are N 1 minima between adjacent principal

maxima, there must be N 2 secondary maxima between two principal maxima.

The positions of the secondary maxima are given by

(2 m + 1) (2 m + 1)

N = or N (d + b) sin = . (142)

2 2

15.1 Intensity distribution 62

A particular principal maximum may be absent if it corresponds to the angle which

also determines the minimum of the single-slit diffraction pattern. This is usually

referred to as a missing order in the diffraction spectrum. This will happen when

are satisfied simultaneously. Dividing these two equations, we obtain

d n d+b

= m= n. (144)

d+b m d

The above equation is the condition for the mth order principal maxima to be

absent in the N slit diffraction pattern. For more details on this refer to section

13.4.3.

ty

15.1.4 Highest possible order

es

us

Since | sin | 1 we can observe from equation (135) that n cannot be greater

ot

than (d + b)/. Thus, there will only be a finite number of principal maxima in

Pr

sN

d+b 1

an

as

nmax = . (145)

N

oh

Cl

where N = 1/(d + b) is the number of lines ruled per unit width of the grating.

am

an

We have seen that in the diffraction pattern produced by N slits, the mth -order

principal maximum occurs at

.M

Dr

.Further the minima occurs at the angles given by the equation (140). Thus, if

m + 1m and m 2m are the angles of diffraction corresponding to the first

minimum on either side of the mth order principal maximum, then the angular

halfwidth of the mth order principal maximum is given by

1

4m = (1m + 2m ) (147)

2

For a larger value of N we have 1m 2m = 4m . Clearly

a sin (m + 4m ) = m . (148)

N

15.2 Diffraction grating 63

But

sin m 4m cos m

m m

4m cos m

a aN a

4m = . (149)

a N cos m (d + b) N cos m

The above equation shows that the angular width of the principal maxima de-

creases with increase in N i.e., as the number of slits increases the principal max-

ima become sharper.

ty

es

As already mentioned in the previous section, an arrangement consisting of a large

us

number of equidistant slits is known as a diffraction grating and the correspond-

ot

Pr

sN

Fraunhoffer in 1821, first invented the grating by winding a fine wire round

two screws placed in parallel. These gratings had from 40 to 340 lines per inch.

an

Using these Fraunhoffer managed to measure the wavelength of the sodium D-line.

as

Later he started to rule the lines on a thin gold film deposited on a glass plate.

oh

Cl

Finally he mastered ruling the lines on a glass surface using diamond as a ruling

point. The best grating manufactured by him was half an inch wide and had an

am

interval of 3m i.e., 8000 lines per inch grating. Now a days gratings are prepared

by ruling equidistant parallel lines on a glass surface with a fine diamond tip. The

an

ruled lines scatter light and are effectively opaque to light while the space between

any two lines is transparent and acts as slit. R. W. Wood showed that pyrex glass

.M

Since the exact positions of the principal maxima in the diffraction pattern de-

pend on the wavelength, the principal maxima corresponding to different spectral

Dr

lines will correspond to different angles of diffraction. Thus the grating spec-

trum provides us with an easily obtainable experimental setup for determination

of wavelengths. We also know that for narrow principal maxima i.e., sharper spec-

tral lines, a large value of N is required. A good-quality grating, therefore, requires

a large number of slits (typically about 15,000 per inch). This is achieved by rul-

ing grooves with a diamond point on an optically transparent sheet of material;

the grooves act as opaque spaces. After each groove is ruled, the machine lifts

the diamond point and moves the sheet forward for the ruling of the next groove.

Since the distance between two consecutive grooves is extremely small, the move-

ment of the sheet is obtained with the help of the rotation of a screw which drives

15.2 Diffraction grating 64

the carriage carrying it. Further, one of the important requirements of a good-

quality grating is that the lines be as equally spaced as possible; consequently, the

pitch of the screw must be constant, and it was not until the manufacture of a

nearly perfect screw (which was achieved by Rowland in 1882) that the problem

of construction of gratings was successfully solved.

Because of the expenses involved in preparation of a grating, commercial grat-

ings are produced by pouring in cellulose acetate on the ruled surface of the origi-

nal grating and the solution is allowed to harden to form a strong thin film. This

replica grating is then detached from the parent grating and mounted between

two grass plated to form a plane transmission grating. However, if the cellulose

acetate dried film is placed on a plane silvered surface, the grating formed is called

a reflection grating. Usually the number of lines on such a grating can range

from 12000 lines per inch to 30000 lines per inch.

ty

The direction in which principal maxima occurs in a grating is given by the grating

es

equation

us

ot

n

sin = = n N , (n = 0, 1, 2, 3, . . .) (150)

Pr

sN

d+b

where N = 1/(d + b) is the number of lines ruled per unit width of the grating.

an

The length (d + b) is called the grating element. [Note : If N is the number of

as

lined per inch on the grating then N (b + d) = 1 inch = 2.54 cm. Accordingly the

oh

Cl

value of N will be N = 2.54/(b + d).] The above equation can be used to study

the dependence of the angle of diffraction on the wavelength . For n = 0, we get

am

of the light used. Thus for a polychromatic (white) source of light the zeroth order

an

central maxima is of the same color as the source itself. However, for n 6= 0,

the angles of diffraction are different for different wavelengths, so various spectral

.M

lines appear at different positions. Hence by measuring the angles of diffraction for

various colors one can calculate the values of the wavelengths by knowing the order

of the spectrum. Differentiating the grating equation with respect to wavelength

Dr

we have

d nN

= . (151)

d cos

If is very small, we can assume that cos 1, so d n for a given d. It shows

that for a given m, the ratio d/d is just a constant value. Such a spectrum is

known as a normal spectrum. In this the difference in angle for two spectral

lines is directly proportional to the difference in wavelengths. Also since d N ,

therefore if the number of lines per width of the grating is large then the angular

dispersion of the grating spectra will also be large.

15.2 Diffraction grating 65

The wavelength of a spectral line can be determined by using the grating equation

given in equation (150). Assuming that N is the number of lines ruled on grating

per inch, the grating equation gives

nN 2.54 sin

sin = = cm. (152)

2.54 nN

The following points have to be noted down regarding the grating spectra

1. Maxima appears as sharp, bright parallel lines and is termed as spectral line.

2. The wavelength of a spectral line can be determined using the grating equa-

tion (152).

ty

3. For a particular wavelength , the angle of diffraction is different for prin-

es

cipal maxima of different orders.

us

ot

Pr

4. For any polychromatic light, at the centre i.e., at = 0 all the wavelengths

sN

provide their zeroth order maximum and hence the zeroth order maximum

is of the same color as the source color.

an

as

oh

Cl

am

7. Most of the intensity is concentrated at the zeroth order and the rest is

an

.M

zeroth order principal maxima.

Dr

(d + b)/ = 2.54/(N ), where N is the number of lines ruled per inch on

the diffraction grating.

depends on the values of slit width d and the separation distance between

them b. Details are given in section (13.4.3).

15.3 Resolving Power 66

Let us assume that the incident light source has two wavelengths very close to each

other. Then the dispersive power of a grating is defined as the ratio of difference

in the angle of diffraction any of these neighbouring spectral lines to the difference

in wavelength of these two spectral lines. Thus it is equal to the difference in the

angle of diffraction per unit change in wavelength. From equation (151), we know

that

d nN

= , (153)

d cos

where N is the number of lines ruled per unit width of the grating. This is the

equation for the dispersive power of a grating. From this equation it is clear that

The dispersive power of a grating is

directly proportional to the number of lines ruled per unit width of the

ty

es

grating, N ,

us

ot

inversely proportional to cos .

Pr

sN

If the diffraction angle is very small then cos 1. So for small diffraction angle

the third factor can be neglected. Then it is clear that d d. A spectrum of

an

as

If the linear spacing of two spectral lines close together is dx in the focal plane

oh

Cl

of the objective of the telescope, then dx = f d, where f is the focal length of the

objective. Using this we can determine the linear dispersion dx/d as

am

dx d f nN

= f =

an

d d cos

f nN

.M

dx = d. (154)

cos

This linear dispersion is used to study photographs of a spectrum.

Dr

Our eyes are able to distinguish two objects if they are either not too close or not

too far from the eye. When these two objects are very close together, they appear

as one object and we say that they are not resolved by our eye. Optical instruments

such as telescope or microscope are used to assist the eye in resolving these objects.

The ability of these instruments to produce distinctly separate images of two very

close objects is called as the resolving power of the instrument. It is defined

as the reciprocal of the smallest angle subtended at the objective by two point

objects, which can just be distinguished as separate.

15.3 Resolving Power 67

Figure 31: (b) Schematic representation of Rayleighs criterion for the resolving

power of a grating. Note the separation of maxima in (a) and close overlapping of

the spectrum in (c).

diffraction. So, if there are two point objects placed close to each other, then

two diffraction patterns are produced. These two patterns may overlap in which

case it will be difficult to distinguish them as separate objects. Thus, any optical

instrument is said to be able to resolve two point objects if the corresponding

ty

diffraction patterns can be distinguished from each other. To measure the resolving

es

power of an instrument Rayleigh proposed that, two point objects lying close

us

ot

Pr

sN

diffraction pattern of one of them falls on the first minimum of the diffraction

pattern of the other. This is called as the Rayleigh criterion for the resolution

and is also known as Rayleighs limit of resolution.

an

as

oh

Cl

am

The ability of a grating to form two separate diffraction maxima for two very

close wavelengths, thereby resolving them, is called the resolving power of the

grating. Using Rayleighs criterion we can say that, two spectral lines formed in

an

a grating, are resolvable if the central maxima of the diffraction pattern of one of

.M

the wavelengths falls over the first minimum due to the other wavelength, or vice

versa as shown in in figure 31(b).

In order to determine the resolving power of a grating, let us assume that

Dr

and + d are the wavelengths of the two coherent sources. Then the resolving

power Rp of the grating is given by /d. In order to detrmine this, we know that

the nth order principal maxima of the wavelength in the direction n satisfies

(d + b) sin n = n , (155)

while the minimas are obtained in the direction , for the condition

As there are N 1 minima in between two adjacent principal maxima, the first

minimum adjacent to the nth order principal maxima in the direction n + dn

15.3 Resolving Power 68

occurs for

N (d + b) sin (n + dn ) = (nN + 1) . (157)

If this direction corresponds to the principal maxima of the other wavelength

+ d, then

(d + b) sin (n + dn ) = n ( + d)

N (d + b) sin (n + dn ) = N n ( + d). (158)

Now applying Rayleigh criterion to the equations (157) and (158), we have

(n N + 1) = n N, ( + d) = n N d. (159)

Rp = = n N. (160)

d

ty

es

This shows that the resolving power of the grating depends on the number of lines

us

ot

ruled per unit length N on the grating and the order of the diffraction pattern n.

Pr

sN

an

as

oh

Cl

am

an

.M

Dr

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