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Youngs Double Slit Experiment

Thomas Young (1773 1829)

Is light
a stream of tiny particles?

a wave?

Youngs Double-Slit Experiment (1807)

nb: Constructive and Destructive Interference

Particles?

Waves?

Interference Patterns
a) Central fringe

The effects of two particles cannot add up to zero... ...but two waves that are out of phase can (destructive interference).

Constructive interference occurs at the centre point. The two waves travel the same distance, therefore they arrive in phase. A bright fringe is observed at point P.

Interference Patterns
b) First order fringe The upper wave (S1) travels further than the lower one (S2). If it travels exactly further, then constructive interference (and, therefore, a bright fringe) will occur at point Q.

Interference Patterns
c) Dark fringe If the upper wave travels exactly half a wavelength further than the lower, then the two waves are 180 out of phase. Therefore, a dark fringe will appear at point R.

Conditions for diffraction patterns


1. Light must be monochromatic, i.e., involve just a single frequency and single wavelength. 2. Light sources must be coherent; the relative phase is always the same. 3. Light sources must have the same amplitudes.

Rays coming from slits are parallel (fair if L >> d). For constructive interference to occur, path difference must be integer wavelength.

Worked example: If the distance between two slits is 0.050 mm and the distance to a screen is 2.50 m, find the spacing between the first and second order bright fringes for yellow light of 600 nm wavelength.

where w = fringe spacing (m) = wavelength (m) D = distance from slits to screen (m) s = slit separation (m)

What is the most important conclusion from the Youngs double-slit experiment?

What is the most important conclusion from the Youngs double-slit experiment?

A There are dark and bright fringes. B Light is a wave. C The slits must be very close together.

A There are dark and bright fringes. B Light is a wave. C The slits must be very close together.

The red diffraction pattern is slightly more spread out than the blue one. What conclusion can be drawn about the wavelengths of red light and blue light?