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Young's Double Slits

Advancing Physics Chapter 6

Jack Friedlander

on 26 February 2015

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Transcript of Young's Double Slits

Young's Double Slits
Waves 10
Variation of intensity of light can be explained if light behaves like a wave.

Light waves coming from each slit are interfering with each other.

Superposition at the screen leads to regions of constructive interference (bright fringes) and regions of destructive interference (dark fringes).
Putting it all together...
How can we relate the observed interference pattern to our model in order to make a prediction?

We know adjacent fringes will be separated by an angle, but we can only measure the distance between , y.

By drawing a diagram is it possible to relate y to the angle of separation?
When waves have a constant phase relationship.

Only true for waves of the same wavelength, frequency and wavespeed.
What was Young's evidence for light being a wave?
Can predict the interference pattern produced?
How do we relate observations
to theory?
Ray Diagram
Young's double slits is an example of two source interference.
Observations explained through superposition of two waves.
Waves must be coherent for interference pattern to be observed.
What is coherence?
How does this affect intereference?
Constructive interference Destructive Interference
Conditions for interference

Path difference between waves is a whole number of wavelengths

Path difference between waves is an odd number of half wavelengths
Constructive: l = n Destructive: l = (n +1/2)

Where l is the path difference, is the wavelength and n is an integer
Superposition must occur in order to for an interference pattern
What is superposition?
Questions to consider
Where is the source of my waves?

Where is superposition taking place?

Why do my waves travel different paths?
Important Math
Wave Equation
Conditions for interference
Will help to understand coherence
Will allow us to define a path length difference
Will let us relate geometry of experiment to observations
Waves spread out when passing through a gap of similar width to there wavelength
Construct a ray diagram showing the two possible paths light can travel from the source to a point on the screen
How can we use this to find the path length difference?
Point on screen
Point on screen
Slit 1
Slit 2
Path length difference
Applying a little math
Something about this diagram seems wrong...
surely the light is leaving the slits at different angles...
Let's say that
so the difference in angle is really small...
the lines appear almost parallel now

the angle is very small

path length difference very small
Light has a very small wavelength (300-600nm) so we would expect path length difference to be very small.

For single slit light diffracts as expected

For double slit there is a regular variation in intensity
There is a bright central fringe of light.
Bright fringes are formed at regular spacings.
Intensity decreases as you move away from centre
Max and min intensities result of superposition

An interference pattern is being observed
path length difference = l = dsin(-)

where d is the distance between slits and (-) is the angle formed by the ray and a line perpendicular to the screen.
for constructive interference l = n
therefore sin(-) = n /d
where is the wavelength of light
for destructive interference l = (n+1/2)
therefore sin(-) = (n+1/2) /d
where is the wavelength of light
Ray diagram
double slits
Central Bright Fringe
Position of first bright fringe
From trigonometry

Tan(-) = y / L
Making a prediction
We expect the angle at which bright fringes to form to be...
sin(-) = n /d
...and we can relate the angle to our measured separation as...
Tan(-) = y / L
...as the angle is really small we can say...
Tan(-) = sin(-)
y / L = n / d
So now we can plot a graph of y against n...
y = n L / d
If we get a straight line with a gradient equal to


we will have strong evidence our theory is correct!
Results Table



Was gradient of graph in agreement with theory?

How accurate were your results in terms of percentage uncertainty?

How could we refine/extend this experiment for further study?
Full transcript