<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
  • Discuss the single slit diffraction pattern.

Light passing through a single slit forms a diffraction pattern somewhat different from those formed by double slits or diffraction gratings. [link] shows a single slit diffraction pattern. Note that the central maximum is larger than those on either side, and that the intensity decreases rapidly on either side. In contrast, a diffraction grating produces evenly spaced lines that dim slowly on either side of center.

Part a of the figure shows a slit in a vertical bar. To the right of the bar is a graph of intensity versus height. The graph is turned ninety degrees counterclockwise so that the intensity scale increases to the left and the height increases as you go up the page. Just in front of the gap, a strong central peak extends leftward from the graph’s baseline, and many smaller satellite peaks appear above and below this central peak. Part b of the figure shows a drawing of the two-dimensional intensity pattern that is observed from single slit diffraction. The central stripe is quite broad compared to the satellite stripes, and there are dark areas between all the stripes.
(a) Single slit diffraction pattern. Monochromatic light passing through a single slit has a central maximum and many smaller and dimmer maxima on either side. The central maximum is six times higher than shown. (b) The drawing shows the bright central maximum and dimmer and thinner maxima on either side.

The analysis of single slit diffraction is illustrated in [link] . Here we consider light coming from different parts of the same slit. According to Huygens’s principle, every part of the wavefront in the slit emits wavelets. These are like rays that start out in phase and head in all directions. (Each ray is perpendicular to the wavefront of a wavelet.) Assuming the screen is very far away compared with the size of the slit, rays heading toward a common destination are nearly parallel. When they travel straight ahead, as in [link] (a), they remain in phase, and a central maximum is obtained. However, when rays travel at an angle θ size 12{θ} {} relative to the original direction of the beam, each travels a different distance to a common location, and they can arrive in or out of phase. In [link] (b), the ray from the bottom travels a distance of one wavelength λ size 12{λ} {} farther than the ray from the top. Thus a ray from the center travels a distance λ / 2 size 12{λ/2} {} farther than the one on the left, arrives out of phase, and interferes destructively. A ray from slightly above the center and one from slightly above the bottom will also cancel one another. In fact, each ray from the slit will have another to interfere destructively, and a minimum in intensity will occur at this angle. There will be another minimum at the same angle to the right of the incident direction of the light.

The figure shows four schematics of a ray bundle passing through a single slit. The slit is represented as a gap in a vertical line. In the first schematic, the ray bundle passes horizontally through the slit. This schematic is labeled theta equals zero and bright. The second schematic is labeled dark and shows the ray bundle passing through the slit an angle of roughly fifteen degrees above the horizontal. The path length difference between the top and bottom ray is lambda, and the schematic is labeled sine theta equals lambda over d. The third schematic is labeled bright and shows the ray bundle passing through the slit at an angle of about twenty five degrees above the horizontal. The path length difference between the top and bottom rays is three lambda over two d, and the schematic is labeled sine theta equals three lambda over two d. The final schematic is labeled dark and shows the ray bundle passing through the slit at an angle of about forty degrees above the horizontal. The path length difference between the top and bottom rays is two lambda over d, and the schematic is labeled sine theta equals two lambda over d.
Light passing through a single slit is diffracted in all directions and may interfere constructively or destructively, depending on the angle. The difference in path length for rays from either side of the slit is seen to be D sin θ size 12{D`"sin"`θ} {} .

At the larger angle shown in [link] (c), the path lengths differ by / 2 size 12{3λ/2} {} for rays from the top and bottom of the slit. One ray travels a distance λ size 12{λ} {} different from the ray from the bottom and arrives in phase, interfering constructively. Two rays, each from slightly above those two, will also add constructively. Most rays from the slit will have another to interfere with constructively, and a maximum in intensity will occur at this angle. However, all rays do not interfere constructively for this situation, and so the maximum is not as intense as the central maximum. Finally, in [link] (d), the angle shown is large enough to produce a second minimum. As seen in the figure, the difference in path length for rays from either side of the slit is D sin θ size 12{D`"sin"θ} {} , and we see that a destructive minimum is obtained when this distance is an integral multiple of the wavelength.

Questions & Answers

Pls guys am having problem on these topics: latent heat of fusion, specific heat capacity and the sub topics under them.Pls who can help?
hamidat Reply
Thanks George,I appreciate.
this will lead you rightly of the formula to use
Most especially it is the calculatory aspects that is giving me issue, but with these new strength that you guys have given me,I will put in my best to understand it again.
you can bring up a question and let's see what we can do to it
the distance between two suasive crests of water wave traveling of 3.6ms1 is 0.45m calculate the frequency of the wave
Idris Reply
v=f×lemda where the velocity is given and lends also given so simply u can calculate the frequency
You are right my brother, make frequency the subject of formula and equate the values of velocity and lamda into the equation, that all.
lExplain what happens to the energy carried by light that it is dimmed by passing it through two crossed polarizing filters.
Christoper Reply
When light is reflected at Brewster's angle from a smooth surface, it is 100% polarizedparallel to the surface. Part of the light will be refracted into the surface.
What is specific heat capacity?
hamidat Reply
Specific heat capacity is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one (Kg) of a substance through one Kelvin
formula for measuring Joules
Rowshan Reply
I don't understand, do you mean the S.I unit of work and energy?
what are the effects of electric current
What limits the Magnification of an optical instrument?
Naeem Reply
Lithography is 2 micron
what is expression for energy possessed by water ripple
Prabesh Reply
what is hydrolic press
Mark Reply
An hydraulic press is a type of machine that is operated by different pressure of water on pistons.
what is dimensional unite of mah
Patrock Reply
i want jamb related question on this asap🙏
sharon Reply
What is Boyles law
Pascal Reply
it can simple defined as constant temperature
Boyles law states that the volume of a fixed amount of a gas is inversely proportional to the pressure acting on in provided that the temperature is constant.that is V=k(1/p) or V=k/p
what is motion
Mua Reply
getting notifications for a dictionary word, smh
what is escape velocity
Shuaibu Reply
the minimum thrust that an object must have in oder yo escape the gravitational pull
what is a dimer
what is a atom
how to calculate tension
Deena Reply
what are the laws of motion
Practice Key Terms 1

Get the best College physics course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics' conversation and receive update notifications?