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# PHYSICS CHAPTER 2

The study of
interference, diffraction
and polarization of
light.
light Light is treated as
waves rather than as
rays.

CHAPTER 2:
Physical optics
(9 Hours)

1
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
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## 2.1 Huygen’s principle (1 hour)

At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Explain Huygen’s principle governing the propagation of
wave fronts.
 Include spherical and plane wavefronts.
 Explain diffraction patterns by using Huygen’s principle.

2
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.1 Huygen’s principle
2.1.1 Wavefronts
 is defined as a line or surface, in the path of a wave motion,
on which the disturbances at every point have the same
phase.
phase
 Figure 2.1 shows the wavefront of the sinusoidal waves.
wavefront
A D
B v
E
C F

Figure 2.1 λ
 Line joining all point of adjacent wave, e.g. A, B and C or D,E
and F are in phase
 Wavefront always perpendicular to the direction of wave
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propagation.
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Type of wavefronts
 Circular wavefronts as shown in Figure 2.2 are produced by a
point source generates two-dimensional waves.
circular wavefront
λ
ray

point source

Figure 2.2
4
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Spherical wavefronts as shown in Figure 2.3 are produced by
a point source generates three-dimensional waves.

spherical wavefronts

point source

rays

Figure 2.3 5
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Plane wavefronts as shown in Figures 2.4a and 2.4b are
produced by a point source generates three-dimensional waves
at large distance from the source.

plane wavefront

rays

rays

## Figure 2.4b : (2-D) 6

PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Ray
 is defined as a line represents the direction of travel of a
wave.
wave
 It is at right angle to the wavefronts as shown in Figure 2.5.

ray

wavefront λ

Figure 2.5
Beam of light
 is a collection of rays or a column of light.
light
 parallel beam, e.g. a laser beam (shown in Figure 2.6a)

Source of light
from infinity
Figure 2.6a
7
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 divergent beam, e.g. a lamp near you (shown in Figure 2.6b)

Figure 2.6b
 convergent beam as shown in Figure 2.6c.

Figure 2.6c 8
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.1.2 Huygen’s principle
 states that every point on a wavefront can be considered as
a source of secondary wavelets that spread out in the
forward direction at the speed of the wave. The new
wavefront is the envelope of all the secondary wavelets -
i.e. the tangent to all of them.
them

secondary wavefront

wavelets

Figure 2.7 9
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Application of Huygen’s principle
a. Construction of new wavefront for a plane wave
 If the wave speed is v, hence in
time t the distance travels by the
A wavelet is s = vt.
P1 A’ Q
1
 From Huygens’ Principle, points
P2 Q2 P1, P2, P3 and P4 on the
wavefront AB are the sources of
P3 Q3 secondary wavelets.
 From the points, draw curves of
B’
B
 Then draw a straight line A’B’
which is tangent to the curves at
points Q1,Q2,Q3 and Q4
Figure 2.8
 Hence, line A’B’ is the new
wavefront after t second. 10
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
b. Construction of new wavefront for a circular wave

A’ Q1
 Explanation as in the
construction of new wavefront
for a plane wavefront.
A Q2
P1 s  But the wavefront A’B’ is a
P2 curve touching points
source Q1,Q2,Q3 and Q4.
P3  The curve A’B’ is the new
P4 (circular) wavefront after t
B Q3
second.

B’ Q4

ray
Figure 2.9
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
c. Diffraction of wave at a single slit
 Huygens’ principle can be used to explain the
diffraction of wave.
 Each of the point in Figure 2.10, acts as a
secondary source of wavelets (red circular
arc)
 The tangent to the wavelets from points 2, 3
and 4 is a plane wavefront.
 But at the edges, points 1 and 5 are the last
points that produce wavelets.
 Huygens’ principle suggest that in conforming
to the curved shape of the wavelets near the
edges, the new wavefront bends or diffracts
around the edges - applied to all kinds of
Figure 2.10 waves.
Stimulation 2.1
12
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
2.2 Constructive interference and destructive
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interference (1 hour)
At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Define coherence.
 State the conditions to observe interference of light.
 State the conditions of constructive and destructive
interference.

13
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.2 Constructive interference and
destructive interference
2.2.1 Interference of light
 Light wave is an electromagnet waves (emw).
 It consists of varying electric field E and varying magnetic
field B which are perpendicular to each other as shown in
Figure 2.11.

Figure 2.11
Electric field: E = E0 sin (ωt-kx)
Magnetic field: B = B0 sin (ωt-kx) 14
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Interference is defined as the effect of interaction between
two or more waves which overlaps or superposed at a point
and at a particular time from the sources.
sources
 For light the Interference is occurred when two light waves meet
at a point, a bright or a dark region will be produced in
accordance to the Principle of superposition.
 Principle of superposition states the resultant displacement
at any point is the vector sum of the displacements due to
the two light waves.
waves
 Constructive interference is defined as a reinforcement of
amplitudes of light waves that will produce a bright fringe
(maximum).
(maximum)
 Destructive interference is defined as a total cancellation of
amplitudes of light waves that will produce a dark fringe
(minimum).
(minimum)

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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.2.2 Conditions for permanent interference
 Permanent interference between two sources of light only take
place if they are coherent sources. It means
 the sources must have the same wavelength or frequency
(monochromatic).
 the sources must have a constant phase difference
between them.
 The light waves that are interfering must have the same or
approximately of amplitude to obtain total cancellation at
minimum or to obtain a good contrast at maximum.
 The distance between the coherent sources should be as
small as possible of the light wavelength ( ≤ λ ).

16
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.2.3 Path difference, ∆ L
 is defined as the difference in distance from each source
to a particular point.
point

P
x1

S1 x2
Figure 2.12
screen
S2
∆L

## Path difference, ∆ L = |S2P − S1P|

= |x2 –x1| 17
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Interference of two coherent sources in phase
 Path difference for constructive interference
 S1 and S2 are two coherent sources in phase

S1 x1
P (maximum)

S2 x2

+ =

Figure 2.13 18
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A bright fringe is observed at P thus
Δφ = 2mπ where m = 0,±1,±2,...
 At P, E1P = E0 sin(ωt − kx1 )
E2 P = E0 sin(ωt − kx2 )
then
Δφ = (ωt − kx2 ) − (ωt − kx1 )
Δφ = k ( x1 − x2 ) since k = 2π and ( x1 − x2 ) = ∆L
2π λ
Δφ = ∆L order
λ 2π
therefore 2mπ = ∆L ∆L = mλ
 Note : λ
When where m = 0,±1,±2,.....
m=0 Central bright fringe λ : wavelength
(zeroth order bright)
m=±1 1st bright fringe (1st order bright)
m=±2 2nd bright fringe (2nd order bright) 19
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Path difference for destructive interference
 S1 and S2 are two coherent sources in phase

Q (minimum)
x1
S1
x2

S2

+ =

Figure 2.14 20
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A dark fringe is observed at Q thus
( )
Δφ = 2m + 1 π where m = 0,±1,±2,...
 At P, E1P = E0 sin(ωt − kx1 )
E2 P = E0 sin(ωt − kx2 )
then
Δφ = (ωt − kx2 ) − (ωt − kx1 )
Δφ = k ( x1 − x2 )

Δφ = ∆L
λ 2π  1
therefore ( 2m + 1)π = ∆L ∆L =  m + λ
 Note : λ  2
When where m = 0,±1,±2,.....
m=0 1st dark fringe (zeroth order dark)
m=±1 2nd dark fringe (1st order dark)
m=±2 3rd dark fringe (2nd order dark)
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Interference pattern for two coherent sources in phase

Fringe ∆φ m ∆L
2nd bright 4π 2 2λ
2nd dark 3π 1
3
2
λ
1st bright 2π 1 λ
S1 1st dark π 0
1
2
λ
Central bright 0 0 0
1st dark π 0
1
2
λ
S2 1st bright 2π −1 λ
2nd dark 3π −1
3
2
λ
2nd bright 4π −2 2λ
screen
Figure 2.15

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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Interference of two coherent sources in antiphase
 Path difference for constructive interference
 S1 and S2 are two coherent sources in antiphase

P (maximum)
x1

S1
x2

S2

+ =

23
Figure 2.16
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A bright fringe is observed at P thus
Δφ = 2mπ where m = ±1,±2,...
 At P,E1P = E0 sin(ωt − kx1 )
E2 P = E0 sin(ωt − kx2 − π )
then Δφ = (ωt − kx − π ) − (ωt − kx )
2 1
Δφ = k ( x1 − x2 ) − π
 2π 
Δφ =  ∆L  − π
 λ 
 2π   1
therefore 2mπ =  ∆L  − π ∆L =  m + λ
 Note :  λ   2
When where m = 0,±1,±2,.....
m=0 1st bright fringe (zeroth order bright)
m=±1 2nd bright fringe (1st order bright)
m=±2 3rd bright fringe (2nd order bright)
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Path difference for destructive interference
 S1 and S2 are two coherent sources in antiphase

S1 x1
Q (minimum)

S2 x2

+ =

Figure 2.17
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A dark fringe is observed at Q thus
( )
Δφ = 2m + 1 π where m = 0,±1,±2,...
 At P,E1P = E0 sin(ωt − kx1 )
E2 P = E0 sin(ωt − kx2 + π )
then
Δφ = (ωt − kx2 + π ) − (ωt − kx1 )
Δφ = k ( x1 − x2 ) + π
 2π 
Δφ =  ∆L  + π
 λ 
 2π 
therefore ( 2m + 1)π =  ∆L  + π ∆L = mλ
 Note :  λ 
where m = 0,±1,±2,.....
When
m=0 Central dark fringe (zeroth order dark)
m=±1 1st dark fringe (1st order dark)
m=±2 2nd dark fringe (2nd order dark)
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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Interference pattern for two coherent sources in antiphase

Fringe ∆φ m ∆L
2nd dark 5π 2 2λ
2nd bright 4π 1
3
2
λ
1st dark 3π 1 λ
S1 1st bright 2π 0
1
2
λ
Central dark π 0 0
1st bright 2π 0
1
2
λ
S2 1st dark 3π −1 λ
2nd bright 4π −1
3
2
λ
2nd dark 5π −2 2λ
screen
Figure 2.18

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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Table 2.1 shows the summary of chapter 2.2.3.
Two Coherent Bright fringe Dark fringe
sources
In phase
∆L = mλ  1
∆L =  m +  λ
 2
m = 0,±1,±2,...
m = 0,±1,±2,...
Δφ = 2mπ Δφ = (2m + 1)π
m = 0,1,2,... m = 0,1,2,...
Antiphase
 1 ∆L = mλ
∆L =  m +  λ
 2 m = 0,±1,±2,...
m = 0,±1,±2,...
Δφ = 2mπ Δφ = (2m + 1)π
m = 1,2,... m = 0,1,2,...

Table 2.1 28
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
2.3 Interference of transmitted light through double-
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slits (2 hours)
At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Derive with the aid of a diagram and use
mλD
ym = for bright fringes (maxima)
d

xm =
( m + 12 ) λD
for dark fringes (minima),
d
where m = 0, ±1, ±2, ±3, … .
λD
 Use expression ∆y = and
d
explain the effect of changing any of the variables. 29
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.3 Interference of transmitted light
through double-slits
2.3.1 Methods of obtaining two coherent sources
Division of wavefront
 A slit S is placed at equal
distance from slits S1 and S2 as
shown in figure.

## S S1  Light waves from S that arrived

at S1 and S2 are in phase.
monochromatic S2
light source
 Therefore, both slits S1 and S2
are two new coherent sources,
single double e.g. in Young’s double slit
slit slits experiment
Figure 2.19
30
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Division of amplitude

##  The incident wavefront is divided

incident ray 1 2 into two waves by partial
reflection and partial
transmission.
partial reflection
air
 Both reflected waves 1 and 2 are
coherent and will result in
partial interference when they
film t superpose.
transmission
 e.g. Newton’s ring, air wedge
air fringes and thin film interference.

Figure 2.20

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PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.3.2 Young’s double-slit experiment
 Figure 2.21 shows the schematic diagram of Young’s double-slit
experiment. Intensity

Max m=2
Min
Max m=1
S1 Min
S Max m=0
monochromatic S2 Min
light beam Max m = −1
Min
single double
slit slits Max m = −2

## Picture 2.1 Figure 2.21 interference

screen
pattern
32
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Explanation of Young’s double-slit experiment by using
Huygens’ principle
 Wavefront from light source falls on a narrow slit S and
diffraction occurs.
 Every point on the wavefront that falls on S acts as sources of
secondary wavelets that will produce a new wavefront that
propagate to slits S1 and S2 .
 S1 and S2 are produced two new sources of coherent waves in
phase because they originate from the same wavefront and their
distance from S are equal.
 An interference pattern consisting of bright and dark fringes is
formed on the screen as shown in Figure 2.21.
 The bright fringes are occurred when the light from slits S1 and S2
superposes constructively.
 The dark fringes are occurred when the light from slits S1 and S2
superposes destructively.
33
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Derivation of Young’s double-slit equations
 Equation for separation between central bright fringe and mth
bright fringe
M (m+1)th bright

P
∆y
mth bright

θ ym y m +1
S1

θ
d Q
O
Central bright
N
S2 mλ

D
double-slit screen
Figure 2.22 34
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Suppose P in Figure 2.22 is the mth order bright fringe, thus
S2 P − S1P = mλ
 Let OP = ym = distance from P to O .
 In practice d is very small (<1mm) and D>>d, then S1N
meets PQ at right angle. Hence
 NP = S P then S N = S P− NP = mλ .
1 2 2

##  angle PQO = angle S2S1N = θ

 From the figure, S2 N mλ
ΔS2S1N sin θ = =
S2S1 d
PO ym
ΔPQO
tanθ = =
QO D
Since θ is small, thus
sinθ = tanθ
mλ ym
=
d D 35
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Therefore, the separation between central bright and mth
bright fringes, ym is given by
mλD
ym = (2.1)
d
where m : order = 0,±1,±2,...
λ : wavelength
D : distance between double - slits and the screen
d : separation between double - slits
 Note: For bright fringes
m=0 Central bright fringe (Zeroth order maximum)
m = ±1 1st bright fringe (1st order maximum)
m = ±2 2nd bright fringe (2nd order maximum)
m = ±3 3rd bright fringe (3rd order maximum)

36
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for separation between central bright fringe and mth
dark fringe

## R mth order dark

∆y
(m−1)th order dark

θ xm
S1

θ
d Q
O
Central bright
N
 1
S2  m + λ
 2
D
double-slit screen
Figure 2.23
37
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Suppose R in Figure 2.23 is the mth order dark fringe, thus
 1
S2 R − S1R =  m + λ
 2
 Let OR = xm = distance from R to O .
 In practice d is very small (<1mm) and D>>d, then S1N
meets RQ at right angle. Hence,
 1
 NR = S R then S2 N = S2 R − NR =  m + λ
1
 2
 angle RQO = angle S S N = θ
2 1
 From the figure, S2 N  1λ
sin θ = = m + 
ΔS2S1N S2S1  2 d
RO xm
tanθ = =
ΔRQO QO D
Since θ is small, thus  1  λ xm
sinθ = tanθ m +  =
 2 d D
38
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Therefore, the separation between central bright and mth order
dark fringes, xm is given by
 1  λD
xm =  m +  (2.2)
 2 d
where m : order = 0,±1,±2,...
 Note: For dark fringes
m=0 1st dark fringe (Zeroth order minimum)
m = ±1 2nd dark fringe (1st order minimum)
m = ±2 3rd dark fringe (2nd order minimum)
m = ±3 4th dark fringe (3rd order minimum)

39
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for separation between successive (consecutive)
bright or dark fringes, ∆ y (Figure 2.22)
 is given by
mλD λD
∆y = ym +1 − ym where ym = and y m +1 = ( m + 1)
d d
λD mλD
∆y = ( m + 1) −
d d
λD
∆y = (2.3)
d
where ∆y : separation between consecutive bright
or dark fringes
λ : wavelength
D : distance between double - slits and the screen
d : separation between double - slits
40
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Appearance of Young’s double-slit experiment
 From the equation (2.3),
(2.3)
λD
∆y =
d
 ∆ y depends on :
 the wavelength of light, λ
 the distance apart, d of the double slits,
 distance between slits and the screen, D
 Explanation for the above factors:
 if λ is short and thus Δy decreases for fixed D and d. The
interference fringes are closer to each other and vice-versa.
 if the distance apart d of the slits diminished, Δy increased
for fixed D and λ and vice-versa.
 if D increases Δy also increases for fixed λ and vice-versa.
41
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 if a source slit S (Figure 2.21) is widened the fringes
gradually disappear. The slit S then equivalent to large
number of narrow slits, each producing its own fringe system
at different places. The bright and dark fringes of different
systems therefore overlap, giving rise to a different
illumination.
 if one of the slit, S1 or S2 is covered up, the fringes disappear.
 if the source slit S is moved nearer the double slits, Δy is
unaffected but their intensity increases.
 if the experiment is carried out in a different medium, for
example water, the fringe separation Δy decreased or
increased depending on the wavelength, λ of the medium.
 if white light is used the central bright fringe is white, and the
fringes on either side are coloured. Violet is the colour nearer
to the central fringe and red is farther away as shown in
Figure 2.24.

42
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2

Figure 2.24
 Table 2.2 shows the range of wavelength for colours of visible
light.
Colour Range of λ/ nm
Violet 400 – 450
Blue 450 – 520
Green 520 – 560
Yellow 560 – 600
Stimulation 2.2 Orange 600 – 625
Red 625 - 700
Stimulation 2.3
Table 2.2 43
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 1 :
A double-slits pattern is view on a screen 1.00 m from the slits. If
the third order minima are 25.0 cm apart, determine
a. the ratio of wavelength and separation between the slits,
b. the distance between the first order minimum and fourth order
maximum on the screen.
Solution : D = 1.00 m; ∆x3 = 0.25 m; m = 3
a. 3rd order minimum
S1 x3
d ∆x3 zeroth order maximum
S2
x3
D 3rd order minimum
From the figure,
∆x3 0.25
x3 = =
2 2
x3 = 0.125 m
44
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : D = 1.00 m; ∆x3 = 0.25 m; m = 3
a. By using the equation of separation between central bright and

1  λDthus
 fringes,
mth order dark  1  λD
xm =  m +  x3 =  3 + 
 2 d  2 d
 1  λ (1.00 )
0.125 =  3 + 
 2 d
λ
= 3.57 ×10 − 2
d
b. The separation between central max and the 1st order min. is
 1  λD
x1 = 1 + 
 2 d
λD
x1 = 1.5
d
45
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :
b. and the separation between central max and the 4th order max.
(m = 4) is given by
mλD λD
ym = y4 = 4
d d
Therefore the distance between the first order minimum and
fourth order maximum on the screen is
∆d = y4 − x1
 λD   λD 
∆d =  4  −  1. 5 
 d   d 
λD
∆d = 2.5
d
∆d = 2.5( 3.57 ×10 −2 )(1.00 )
∆d = 8.93 ×10 −2 m
46
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 2 :
a. How would you expect the interference pattern of a double-slit
experiment to change if white light is used instead of
monochromatic light?
b. Describe the changes that would be observed in a double-slit
interference pattern if the entire experiment were submerged in
water.
(Physics, 3rd edition, J. S. Walker, Q4&Q6, p.963)
Solution :
a. The locations of bright and dark fringes depends on the
wavelength of light.
light Therefore, if white light is used in a
double-slit experiment, each bright fringe will show some
separation into colours,
colours giving a “rainbow” effect.
effect

47
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :
b. Submerging the double-slit experiment in water would reduce
the wavelength of the light from λ to λ /n, where n = 1.33
is
the refraction index of water. Therefore, the bright or dark
fringe separation would be reduced,
reduced according to the
equation below: λD
∆y =
d

## It follows that the interference pattern fringes get closer to each

other.
other

48
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 3 :
In a Young’s double-slit experiment, when a monochromatic light
of wavelength 600 nm shines on the double slits, the fringe
separation of the interference pattern produced is 7.0 mm. When
another monochromatic light source is used, the fringe separation
is 5.0 mm. Calculate the wavelength of the second light.
Solution : λ1 = 600 ×10 −9 m; ∆y1 = 7.0 ×10 −3 m;
∆y2 = 5.0 ×10 −3 m
1st case: ∆y1
S1 ∆y1
d Central of interference pattern
S2

D
By applying the fringe separation equation, thus

∆y1 =
λ1 D
7.0 × 10 −3 =
( 600 ×10 ) D
−9
(1)
d d 49
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : λ1 = 500 ×10 −9 m; ∆y1 = 7.0 ×10 −3 m;
∆y2 = 5.0 ×10 −3 m
2nd case:
∆y2
S1 ∆y2
d Central of interference pattern
S2

D
λ2 D λ2 D
∆y2 = −3
5.0 ×10 = (2)
d d
5.0 ×10 −3
λ2
(2)÷ (1): −3
=
7.0 ×10 600 ×10 −9
λ2 = 429 ×10 −9 m OR 429 nm

50
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 4 : A
S1
1.2 mm
S2
2.5 m

Figure 2.25 B
Figure 2.25 shows two coherent sources (S1 and S2) of light in
phase. The separation of S1 and S2 is 1.2 mm and the screen is
2.5 m from the sources.
a. The frequency of the light is 5.77 × 1014 Hz. Calculate
i. the wavelength of the light used
ii. the separation between two consecutive bright fringes if the
experiment is carried out in air.
b. If the experiment is carried out in water of refractive index 1.33,
calculate the separation of two consecutive dark fringes.
(The speed of light in vacuum, c = 3.00 × 108 m s−1)
51
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
−3
Solution : d = 1.2 × 10 m; D = 2.5 m
a. i. Given f = 5.77 × 10 Hz
14

## By applying the wave speed equation, thus

c = λf
(
3.00 ×10 = λ 5.77 ×10
8 14
)
λ = 520 ×10 −9 m OR 520 nm
ii. By using the equation of fringe separation, thus
λD
∆y =
d
∆y =
(
520 ×10 ( 2.5)
−9
)
−3
1.2 × 10
∆y = 1.08 × 10 −3 m
52
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
−3
Solution : d = 1.2 × 10 m; D = 2.5 m
b. Given n = 1.33
The wavelength of light in water is given by
λ 520 ×10 −9
n= 1.33 =
λw λw
λw = 3.91×10 m−7

## Therefore the dark fringes separation is

λD
∆x =
d
∆x =
(
3.91×10 −7 ( 2.5) )
1.2 ×10 −3
∆x = 8.15 × 10 −4 m
53
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Exercise 2.1 :
1. Young’s double-slit experiment is performed with 589-nm light
and a distance of 2.00 m between the slits and the screen.
The tenth interference minimum is observed 7.26 mm from
the central maximum. Determine the spacing of the slits.
(Physics for scientists and engineers,6th edition,Serway&Jewett,
Q37.5, p.1198)
ANS. : 1.54 mm
2. A Young’s interference experiment is performed with
monochromatic light. The separation between the slits is
0.500 mm, and the interference pattern on a screen 3.30 m
away shows the first side maximum 3.40 mm from the centre
of the pattern. What is the wavelength?
(Physics for scientists and engineers,6th edition,Serway&Jewett,
Q37.2, p.1197)
ANS. : 515 nm

54
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Exercise 2.1 :
3. A coherent light that contains two wavelength, 660 nm (red)
and 470 nm (blue) passes through two narrow slits separated
by 0.3 mm and the interference pattern is observed on a
screen 5.00 m from the slits. Determine the distance
between the first order bright fringes for each wavelength.
(University physics,11th edition, Young&Freedman, Q35.14,
p.1362)
ANS. : 3.17 mm
4. A monochromatic light of wavelength 560 nm passes through
a Young’s double-slit system of unknown slit separation. After
that, the slits is illuminated by a monochromatic light of
unknown wavelength. It was observed that the 4th order
minimum of the known wavelength light overlapped with the
5th order maximum of the unknown wavelength light on a
screen. Calculate the wavelength of the unknown wavelength
light.
ANS. : 504 nm
55
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
2.4 Interference of reflected light in thin films
www.kmph.matrik.edu.my/physic s

(1 hour)
At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Explain with the aid of a diagram the interference of light
in thin films for normal incidence.
 For non-reflective coating:
Constructive interference : 2nt = mλ
Destructive interference : 2nt = (m + ½ )λ
 For reflective coating:
Constructive interference : 2nt = (m + ½ )λ
Destructive interference : 2nt = mλ
where m = 0, ±1, ±2, ±3, …

56
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.4 Interference of reflected light in
thin films
 Interference due to reflected waves is observed in many
everyday circumstances such as bright colours reflected from oil
film on water and soap bubble.
 The reflected waves can change their phase in two ways:
 The phase changes in proportion to the distance of the
waves travel.
travel
 The phase changes as a result of the reflection process
itself.
 Optical path is defined as the product between a distance
travelled by light and the refractive index of the medium
OR
L = nl
where L : optical path
n : refractive index of a medium
l : distance travelled by light in the medium
57
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.4.1 Phase changes due to reflection
 A light wave travelling in a medium of lower refractive index (n1)
when reflected from a medium’s surface of higher refractive
index (n2) undergoes a π radian phase change as shown in
Figure 2.26a.
incident wave incident pulse

n1 n2
transmitted pulse
reflected wave transmitted wave

Note:
∆φ = π rad n1 n2 reflected pulse
λ
∆L = Figure 2.26a Figure 2.26b: string analogous
2 58
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A light wave travelling in a medium of higher refractive index
(n2) when reflected from a medium’s surface of lower
refractive index (n1) undergoes no phase change as shown in
Figure 2.27a.
no phase change
incident wave
incident pulse

n2 n1

## reflected wave transmitted wave transmitted pulse

Note:
∆φ = 0 n2 n1 reflected pulse
∆L = 0
Figure 2.27a Figure 2.27b: string analogous
Stimulation 2.4 59
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.4.2 Interference from thin films on a denser
medium
 Figure 2.28 shows the light waves reflected from the upper and
lower surfaces of a thin film (refractive index, n) on a denser
medium.
change change
E F
A

1 2
n1 = 1.0
B D
n = 1.5
t : thickness of
thin film
C
n2 = 3.5

Figure 2.28 60
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 When an incident ray falls on a thin film surface almost normal to the
surface (point B)
 division of amplitude occurs,

##  point D very close to B (BC and CD become straight line).

 At B,
 the reflected ray (ray 1) undergoes π radian phase change.
change
 because the ray 1 reflected from a surface of higher refractive
index (denser medium).
medium)
 At C,
 the reflected ray (ray 2) undergoes πradian phase change.
change
 Therefore both rays 1 and 2 are two coherent sources in phase
because the phase difference, ∆ φ is

∆φ = interference
and meet at a point produces π − π = 0 pattern.
61
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 The optical path difference between rays 1 and 2 is given by
∆L = ABCDF− ABE
∆L = BC + CD
∆L = nt + nt ∆L = 2nt
 Constructive interference:
where
2nt = mλ λ : wavelength of light in vacuum
m = 0,±1,±2,...
 Destructive interference:
 1  where
2nt =  m + λ
 2  m = 0,±1,±2,...
 Example of thin film on a denser medium:
 Non-reflective (anti-reflective) coating
 Oil film on water and etc…

## Picture 2.2 Picture 2.3 Picture 2.4

62
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.4.3 Interference from thin films on a less dense
medium
 Figure 2.29 shows the light waves reflected from the upper and
lower surfaces of a thin film (refractive index, n) in a less dense
medium. π rad phase no phase
change change
E F
A

1 2
nair = 1.0
B D
n = 1.33
t : thickness of
thin film
C
nair = 1.0

Figure 2.29 63
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 When an incident ray falls on a thin film surface almost normal
to the surface (point B)
 division of amplitude occurs,
 part of ray are reflected (ray 1→ ray ABE),
 part of ray are refracted and reflected (ray 2→ ray ABCDF),
 point D very close to B (BC and CD become straight line).
 At B,

the reflected ray (ray 1) undergoes π radian phase
change.
change
 because the ray 1 reflected from a surface of higher
refractive index (denser medium).
medium)
 At C,
 the reflected ray (ray 2) undergoes no phase change.
change
 Therefore both rays 1 and 2 are two coherent sources antiphase
φ = π − 0∆= φπ rad
because the phase∆difference, is

## and meet at a point produces interference pattern. 64

PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 The optical path difference between rays 1 and 2 is given by
∆L = ABCDF− ABE
λ
∆L = BC + CD +
λ 2 λ
∆L = nt + nt + ∆L = 2nt +
2 2
 Constructive interference:
λ  1  where
2nt + = mλ 2nt =  m + λ m = 0,±1,±2,...
2  2
 Destructive interference:
λ  1 where
2nt + =  m + λ 2nt = mλ m = 0,±1,±2,...
2  2
 Example of a thin film on a less dense medium:
 Soap bubbles
 Reflective coating and etc…

## Picture 2.5 Picture 2.6 65

PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 5 :
A non-reflective coating of magnesium fluoride of refractive index
1.38 covers the camera lens of refractive index 1.52. The coating
prevents reflection of yellow-green light of wavelength in vacuum
565 nm. Determine the minimum non zero thickness of the
magnesium fluoride.
(Physics,7th edition, Cutnell&Johnson, Q48, p.886)
Solution : λ = 565 ×10 −9 m
change change

1 2 2 coherent sources in
n1 = 1.0 phase

n = 1.38 t min
n2 = 1.52 66
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : λ = 565 × 10 −9 m
By using the condition of destructive interference for non-reflective
coating, thus
 1
2nt =  m + λ
 2
For minimum thickness of MgF2, m=0
 1
2nt min =  0 + λ
 2
=  ( 565 ×10 −9 )
1
2(1.38) t min
2
t min = 1.02 ×10 −7 m
OR
102 nm
67
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 6 :
White light is incident on a soap film of refractive index 1.30 in air.
The reflected light looks bluish because the red light of wavelength
670 nm is absent in the reflection.
a. State the condition for destructive interference.
b. What is the minimum thickness of the soap film?
(Physics,3rd edition, J.S.Walker, Q26, p.966)
Solution : λ = 670 ×10 −9 m
change change

2 coherent sources
1 2
antiphase
n1 = 1.0

n = 1.30 t min
n1 = 1.0 68
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : λ = 670 × 10 −9 m
a. The condition of destructive interference is given by
2nt = mλ
b. For minimum thickness of soap film, m =1
2nt min = (1) λ
(
2(1.30 ) t min = 670 ×10 −9 )
−7
t min = 2.58 × 10 m
OR
258 nm

69
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
2.5 Interference of reflected light in air wedge and
www.kmph.matrik.edu.my/physic s

## Newton’s rings (1 hour)

At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Explain with the aid of a diagram the interference in air
wedge.
 Explain with the aid of a diagram the formation of
Newton’s rings.
 Use
 2t = (m + ½)λ for bright fringes (maxima)
 2t = mλ for dark fringes (minima),
where m = 0, 1, 2, 3, …

70
PHYSICS CHAPTER
2.5 Interference of reflected light2in air

## wedge and Newton’s ring

2.5.1 Air wedge S L Q

travelling
microscope air
O P t T
α
X B Y
l
L
monochromatic
glass plate Figure 2.31
light source
m= 0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5
glass slide
thin foil
1st dark
fringe
Figure 2.30: Apparatus setup Figure 2.32
∆x 71
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Ray S falls almost normal to the surface of a glass slide.
 At point O, Ray S is
 partially reflected (ray OL)
 partially refracted (OB) and then reflected at B (ray PQ)
 The two refracted rays (OL and PQ) are coherent since both
have originated from the same source O.
 OL and PQ produces interference pattern if it is brought
together as shown in Figure 2.32.
 Since the incidence is nearly normal (point P very close to O),
the path difference between the rays at O (ray OL and ray
OBPQ) is given by,
path difference, ∆ L = OB + BP = nt + nt = 2nt
where n is refractive index of air = 1.0
 At X, t = 0 and thus the path difference = 0 and a bright fringe
is expected, but a dark fringe is observed at X. This is due to
the phase change of π radian for ray PQ (reflected on a
denser medium at B).
72
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Hence, ray PQ is in antiphase with ray OL and when brought
together (by the retina or lens) to interfere, a dark fringe is
obtained.
 Constructive interference (bright fringe):
1
2t = mλ + λ
2
 1
2t =  m + λ (2.4)
 2
where m = 0,1,2,...
 Destructive interference (dark fringe):

2t = mλ (2.5)

## Note: where m = 0,1,2,...

A phase change of π radian is equivalent to a path
difference of ½ λ
73
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 From equation (2.4),
When
m = 0; t = 14 λ 1st bright fringe (Zeroth order maximum)
m = 1; t = 34 λ 2nd bright fringe (1st order maximum)
m = 2; t = 54 λ 3rd bright fringe (2nd order maximum)
i.e. bright fringes are formed when the thickness of
air film, t = 14 λ , 34 λ , 54 λ ,.......
 From equation (2.5),
When
m = 0; t = 0 1st dark fringe (Zeroth order minimum)
m = 1; t = 12 λ 2nd dark fringe (1st order minimum)
m = 2; t = λ 3rd dark fringe (2nd order minimum)
i.e. dark fringes are formed when the thickness of
air film, t = 0, 12 λ , λ , 32 λ ,....... 74
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for separation between the 1st dark fringe and the
mth order dark fringe, l
 From Figure 2.31,
T t t
tan α = = l= (2.6)
L l tan α

 Rearrange eq. (2.5): t = substitute into eq. (2.6)
2

l= (2.7)
2 tan α
where
m : order = 0,1,2,...
λ : wavelength of light in vacuum
α : angle of inclination of glass slide
75
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for separation between the 1st dark fringe and the
mth order bright fringe, l

t=
( m + 12 ) λ
substitute into eq. (2.6)
 Rearrange eq. (2.4):
2
l=
( m + 12 ) λ
(2.8)
2 tan α
where m : order = 0,1,2,...
 Equation for separation between adjacent dark fringes or
bright fringes, ∆ x
 Put m = 1 into eq. (2.7),

λ
∆x = (2.9)
2 tan α
76
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
C
2.5.2 Newton’s ring

Figure 2.34 L
Q
travelling
microscope
R R −t S

monochromatic
A Y
light source P
t O
glass plate X B
d
plano-convex
lens
glass block

## Figure 2.33: Figure 2.35:

Apparatus setup Newton’s ring 77
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Ray S falls almost normal to the surface of a plano-convex.
 At point O, Ray S is
 partially reflected (ray OL)
 partially refracted (OB) and then reflected at B (ray PQ)
 The two refracted rays (OL and PQ) are coherent since both
have originated from the same source O.
 OL and PQ produces interference pattern if it is brought
together as shown in Figure 2.35.
 The pattern is a series of circular interference fringes called
Newton’s ring. This because of a curved piece of glass with a
spherical cross section.
 Since the incidence is nearly normal (point P very close to O),
the path difference between the rays at O (ray OL and ray
OBPQ) is given by,
path difference, ∆ L = OB + BP = nt + nt = 2nt
where n is refractive index of air = 1.0

78
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 At X, t = 0 and thus the path difference = 0 and a bright spot is
expected, but a dark spot is observed at X. This is due to the
phase change of π radian for ray PQ (reflected on a denser
medium at B).
 Hence, ray PQ is in antiphase with ray OL and when brought
together (by the retina or lens) to interfere, a dark spot is
obtained.
 Constructive interference (bright ring):
1
2t = mλ + λ
2
 1
2t =  m + λ (2.8)
 2
where m = 0,1,2,...
 Destructive interference (dark ring):
2t = mλ (2.9)

where m = 0,1,2,... 79
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Relationship between diameter of ring, d and thickness of
air gap, t
 From Figure 2.34,
C  By using the Phytogorean theorem,
thus the distance AY is
AY 22 = AC2 − YC 2
d 
  = R − ( R − t)
2 2
R R −t
2
d2
= 2 Rt + t 2
A Y 4
d Since t is very thin thus t2 ≈ 0

2 d2
= 2 Rt (2.10)
4
80
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for diameter of dark ring

 Rearrange eq. (2.9): t = substitute into eq. (2.10)
2
d2  mλ 
= 2 R  d 2 = 4 Rmλ (2.11)
4  2 
where m : order = 0,1,2,...
When
m = 0; t = 0 Central dark spot
(zeroth order minimum), d = 0
m = 1; t = 12 λ 1st dark ring (1st order minimum)

## m = 3; t = 32 λ 3rd dark ring (3rd order minimum)

81
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for diameter of bright ring

##  Rearrange eq. (2.9): t =

( m + 12 ) λ
substitute into eq.
2
 ( m + )λ 
2 (2.10)
d 1
= 2R  2

4  2 
d = 4 R( m + 12 ) λ
2
(2.12)

## where m : order = 0,1,2,...

When
m = 0; t = 14 λ 1st bright ring (zeroth order
maximum)
m = 1; t = 34 λ 2nd bright ring (1st order maximum)

## m = 3; t = 74 λ 4th bright ring (3rd order maximum)

82
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 From Figure 2.35,
 The rings become more closely spaced as one moves
farther from the centre of the Newton’s ring.
 The reason is that the convex surface of the lens moves
away from the lower glass block at a progressively
faster rate therefore the thickness of air film increases
rapidly.
rapidly
 Newton’s ring can be used to test the accuracy with which a
lens has been ground.
ground
 The rings are not circular if the surface is not spherical
(or the glass block is not flat).
flat)

83
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 7 :
An air wedge is formed by placing a human hair between two glass
slides of length 44 mm on one end, and allowing them to touch on
the other end. When this wedge is illuminated by a red light of
wavelength 771 nm, it is observed to have 265 bright fringes.
Determine
a. the diameter of hair,
b. the angle of air wedge,
c. the thickness of the air film for 99th dark fringe to be observed,
d. the separation between two consecutive bright fringes.
Solution : λ = 771 × 10 m; L = 44 × 10 m
−9 −3

d
α
L 265th bright fringe
84
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : λ = 771 × 10 −9 m; L = 44 × 10 −3 m
a. Assuming the diameter of the hair, d = the thickness of air film, t
at 265th bright fringe
Therefore the diameter of the hair is given by
 1
2t =  m + λ and m = 264
 2
 1
(
2d =  264 +  771×10 −9 )
 2
d = 1.02 × 10 −4 m
b. The angle of air wedge is
d 1.02 ×10 −4
tan α = tan α = −3
L 44 ×10
α = 0.13

85
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : λ = 771 × 10 −9 m; L = 44 × 10 −3 m
c. By applying the equation for dark fringe (air wedge), thus
2t = mλ and m = 98
(
2t = 98 771×10 −9 )
t = 3.78 ×10 −5 m
d. The separation between two consecutive bright fringes is
λ
∆x =
2 tan α
−9
771×10
∆x = 
2 tan 0.13
∆x = 1.70 ×10 −4 m

86
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 8 :
a. Explain why the central spot in Newton’s ring is dark.
b. In a Newton’s ring experiment, the radius of the qth bright ring
is 0.32 cm and the radius of the (q+19)th dark ring is 0.67 cm.
Determine the radius of curvature of the plano-convex used in
the experiment if the wavelength of light used is 589 nm.
Solution :
a.  A ray of light reflected from the lower surface of the convex
surface has no phase change.
 Meanwhile, a ray of light reflected from the top surface of

## glass block undergoes a π radian phase change. Thus the

two reflected rays are two coherent sources in antiphase.
 At the centre of the interference pattern, the thickness of the
air film is zero, hence the path difference for these two rays
goes to zero.
 These resulting a destructive interference at the central of
the Newton’s ring. 87
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : rq = 0.32 × 10 −2 m; r( q +19 ) = 0.67 × 10 −2 m
λ = 589 ×10 −9 m
b. For qth bright ring, m = q − 1
d 2 = 4 R( m + 12 ) λ and d = 2rq
( 2r )
q
2
= 4 R[ ( q − 1) + 12 ]λ
( 2r )
= 4 R( q − 0.5) λ
q
2
(1)
For (q+19) dark ring, m = q + 19
th

## d 2 = 4 Rmλ and d = 2r( q +19 )

( 2r( q +19 ) ) 2
= 4 R( q + 19 ) λ
( 2r( q +19 ))
2
= 4 R( q + 19 ) λ (2)

88
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : rq = 0.32 × 10 −2 m; r( q +19 ) = 0.67 × 10 −2 m
λ = 589 ×10 −9 m
2
b. (2) ÷ (1) :

r( q +19 ) 
 = q + 19
 r  q − 0.5
 q 
−2 2
 0.67 ×10  q + 19
 −2 
 = q = 6.27
 0.32 ×10  q − 0.5
By substituting q = 6.27 into eq. (1) thus

( 2( 0.32 ×10 ) )
−2 2
(
= 4 R( 6.27 − 0.5) 589 ×10 −9 )
R = 3.01 m

89
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Exercise 2.2 :
1. A thin film of gasoline floats on a puddle of water. Sunlight falls
almost perpendicularly on the film and reflects into your eyes.
Although the sunlight is white, since it contains all colours, the
film has a yellow hue, because destructive interference has
occurred eliminating the colour of blue (λ =469 nm) from the
reflected light. If the refractive indices for gasoline and water
are 1.40 and 1.33 respectively, Calculate the minimum
thickness of the film.
ANS. : 168 nm
2. White light is incident normally on a thin soap film (n =1.33)
suspended in air.
a. What are the two minimum thickness that will constructively
reflect yellow light of wavelength 590 nm?
b. What are the two minimum thickness that will destructively
reflect yellow light of wavelength 590 nm?
(Physics,3rd edition, J.S.Walker, Q34, p.966)
ANS. : 110 nm, 330 nm ; 220 nm, 440 nm ; 90
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
3. Two plane glass plates which are in contact at one edge are
separated by a piece of metal foil 12.5 cm from that edge.
Interference fringes parallel to the line of contact are observed
in reflected light of wavelength 546 nm and are found to be 1.50
mm apart. Determine the thickness of the foil.
ANS. : 2.27× 10−5 m
4. Newton’s rings are formed by reflection between an biconvex
lens of focal length 100 cm made of glass of refractive index
1.50 and in contact with a glass block of refractive index 1.60.
Calculate the diameter and thickness of air film for fifth bright
ring using light of wavelength 6000 Å .
Given 1 angstrom (Å) = 10−10 m
ANS. : 3.28 mm; 1.35 µ m
5. Newton’s rings are formed with light of wavelength 589 nm
between the plano-convex lens of radius of curvature 100 cm
and a glass block, in perfect contact.
a. Determine the radius of the 20th dark ring from the centre.
b. How will this ring move and what will its radius become if
the lens and the block are slowly separated to a distance
apart 5.00 × 10−4 cm?
91
ANS. : 3.43 mm; inwards, 1.26 cm
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
2.6 Diffraction by a single slit (1 hour)
www.kmph.matrik.edu.my/physic s

## At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:

 Explain with the aid of a diagram the diffraction of a
single slit.
 Derive and use formula
nλD
yn = for dark fringes (minima)
a

yn =
( n + 12 ) λD
for bright fringes (maxima),
a
where n = ±1, ±2, ±3, ...
 Explain with the aid of a diagram the effect of changing
wavelength on the resolution of single slit from two
coherent sources.
92
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2

## 2.6 Diffraction by a single slit

2.6.1 Diffraction of light
 is defined as the bending of light waves as they travel around
obstacles or pass through an aperture or slit comparable to
the wavelength of the light waves.
waves
 Figures 2.36a, 2.36b and 2.36c show the bending of plane
wavefront.
λ λ λ

## Figure 2.36a: Figure 2.36b: Figure 2.36c:

obstacle slit, a > λ slit, a ≈ λ
93
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.6.2 Diffraction by a single silt
 Figure 2.37 shows an apparatus setup of diffraction by a single
slit.

3rd minimum
2nd maximum
2nd minimum
θ1 1st maximum
θ2 1st minimum
Central
maximum
S θ2
1st minimum
θ1 1st maximum
2nd minimum
2nd maximum
Animation 2.1 3rd minimum
intensity
Picture 2.7 single slit
screen
Figure 2.37
Picture 2.8 where θ : angle of diffraction 94
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Explanation of single slit diffraction experiment
 Wavefront from light source falls on a narrow slit S and
diffraction occurs.
 Every point on the wavefront that falls on S acts as sources of
secondary wavelets and superposed each another to form an
interference pattern on the screen as shown in Figure 2.37.
 The central fringe is bright (maximum) and widen compare to
other bright fringes.
 The central fringe has the highest intensity compare to the
other bright fringes.
 The intensity of bright fringes reduce as the distance
increase from the central bright fringe.
 Other rays with angle θ2 and θ1 will produce minimum and
maximum on both sides of the central maximum.

95
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Derivation of single slit diffraction equations
 Equation for separation between central maximum (bright)
and nth minimum (dark) fringes P nth minimum

yn
p
st r ist
1
a A θ1 nd strip
2 θ1 2
a aE Central
Q maximum
a C sin θ1
2
2
B
a
sin θ1
2
D
where a : slit width
D : distance between single slit and screen screen
Figure 2.38 96
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A single slit is split into two equal parts, AC and CB. A,C and
B are new sources of secondary wavelets. (Huygen’s
principle)
 When the wavelets from A, C and B superpose, interference
will occur at P.
 As AB is very small,
small thus
 AE is perpendicular to CP and AP = EP, EP
 the outgoing rays are considered parallel,
parallel
 and therefore the path difference at P between ray AP

and CP is : a
∆L = CE = sin θ1
2
 Consider two narrow strips as shown in Figure 2.38, for the
two strips superposed destructively thus both strip of light
must in antiphase to each another which is equivalence to a
path difference of ½λ .
 If the 1st minimum (1st order minimum) is at P, hence :
a λ
∆L = sin θ1 = a sin θ1 = λ
2 2 97
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 For the 2nd minimum and 3rd minimum,
minimum AB is split into 4
equal parts, 6 equal parts and so on as shown in Figures
2.39 and 2.40.
t r ip p
ri p st s tri
st s t 1 nd s rip
a 1 r ip a 2 t
rd s rip
nd s
t 3 th st rip
4 2 p 6
rd st
ri 4 th st trip
a 3 rip a 5 th s
th st 6
4
θ2 θ3
2λ 3λ

a λ a λ
2nd minimum sin θ 2 = 3rd minimum sin θ 3 =
(2nd order 4 2 (3rd order 6 2
minimum)
a sin θ 2 = 2λ minimum) a sin θ 3 = 3λ

## Figure 2.39 Figure 2.40

98
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 In general, for minima (dark fringes)

a sin θ n = nλ
where n : order = ±1,±2,±3,..
 If the distance of single slit to the screen is D, and D>>a
then: yn
sin θ n = tan θ n =
D
 Therefore the distance of nth minimum from central
maximum is:
 yn  nλ D
a   = nλ yn =
D a
 When
n = ±1 1st minimum fringe (1st order minimum)

## n = ±3 3rd minimum fringe (3rd order minimum)

99
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for separation between central maximum (bright)
and nth maximum (bright) fringes

R nth maximum

yn
p
ststri ip
1 d str
a A θ1 2 rd strip
n

3 3 θ1
a C aE Central
a 3 sin θ1 Q maximum
a D 3
3 B a sin θ 1

D
screen
Figure 2.41 100
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 A single slit is split into three equal parts, AC,CD and DB.
A,C,D and B are new sources of secondary wavelets.
(Huygen’s principle)
 When the wavelets from A,C,D and B superpose,
interference will occur at R.
 As AB is very small, thus
 AE is perpendicular to CP and AP = EP,

##  and therefore the path difference at P between ray AP

and CP is : a
∆L = CE = sin θ1
3
 Consider three narrow strips as shown in Figure 2.41, the
first two strips (pair) superposed destructively at which the
path difference is ½λ and leave the third strip.
strip The 3rd
strip produces the maximum (bright) fringe at R.
 If the 1st maximum (1st order maximum) is at R, hence :
a λ 3λ
∆L = sin θ1 = a sin θ1 =
3 2 2 101
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 For the 2nd maximum and 3rd maximum,
maximum AB is split into 5
equal parts, 7 equal parts and so on as shown in Figures
2.42 and 2.43.
tr ip
st s trip
rip 1 nd s trip
st st p
a 1 nd stri a 2 rd s trip
2 r ip 3 th s trip
5 rd st
p
7 4 th s tripp
3 th stri 5 th s tri
a 4 th strip 6 th s
a 7
5
θ2 θ3
5λ 7λ
2 2
a λ a λ
2nd maximum sin θ 2 = 3rd maximum sin θ 3 =
(2nd order 5 2 (3rd order 7 2
maximum) 5λ minimum) 7λ
a sin θ 2 = a sin θ 3 =
2 2
Figure 2.42 Figure 2.43
102
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 In general, for maxima (bright fringes)

 1  where
a sin θ n =  n + λ n = ±1,±2,±3,..
 2
 If the distance of single slit to the screen is D, and D>>a
then: yn
sin θ n = tan θ n =
D
 Therefore the distance of nth maximum from central
maximum is:
 yn   1
=
( n + 12 ) λD
a   =  n + λ yn
D  2 a
 When
n = ±1 1st maximum fringe (1st order maximum)

## n = ±3 3rd maximum fringe (3rd order maximum)

103
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Equation for central maximum (bright) fringe

D
1st minimum

θ1 y1
a θ1
Q Central
y1 maximum
1st minimum
single slit Figure 2.44

A
C
D screen
E
B
Figure 2.45 104
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Figure 2.45 shows five sources of Huygen’s wavelets and the
screen is to be so far from the slit (D>>a) thus the rays
from each source are nearly parallel.
parallel
 All the wavelets from each source travel the same distance
to the point Q (Figure 2.44) and arriving there in phase.
phase
 Therefore, the constructive interference is occurred at the
central of the single slit diffraction pattern.
pattern
 The angular width of central maximum, θ w is given by
θ w = 2θ1 and θ1 : 1st minimum diffraction angle
−1 λ
θ1 = sin
a
 −1 λ 
θ w = 2 sin 
 a
105
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 The width of central maximum, w is given by
w = 2 y1 and y1 : separation of 1st minimum and
central maximum
λD
y1 =
a
 λD 
w = 2 
 a 
 Note:
 To calculate the maximum number of orders observed,
observed take
the diffraction angle,θ = 90°.
 From both equations for minima and maxima, we obtain

sin θ n ∝ λ and yn ∝ λ
 By using this two relations, the changes of single slit diffraction
pattern can be explained. 106
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 9 :
A sodium light of wavelength 580 nm shines through a slit and
produces a diffraction pattern on a screen 0.60 m away. The width
of the central maximum fringe on the screen is 5.0 cm. Determine
a. the width of the slit,
b. the angular width of the central maximum fringe,
c. the number of minimum that can be observed on the screen.
Solution : λ = 580 × 10 −9
m; D = 0 .60 m, w = 5 . 0 × 10 −2
m
1st minimum
Central
a w maximum
1st minimum
λD
a. Since w = 2 y1 and y1 =
 λD 
w = 2 
a
5.0 × 10 −2
=2
( 580 × 10 )( 0.60)
−9

 a  a
a = 1.39 × 10−5 m 107
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :λ = 580 × 10 m; D = 0.60 m, w = 5.0 × 10
−9 −2
m
b. The angular width of the central maximum fringe is given by
λ
θ w = 2θ1 and θ1 = sin −1

a
 −1 λ   580 × 10 −9

θ w = 2 sin  θ w = 2 sin 
−1

−5 
 a  1.39 × 10 
θ w = 4.78 

## c. By applying the equation for minimum fringe,

a sin θ = nλ
For the maximum no. of order for minimum fringe, θ = 90
(1.39 ×10 ) sin 90
−5 
(
= nmax 580 ×10 −9 )
nmax = 23.97 ≈ 23
Therefore the number of minimum that can be observed is
23 × 2 = 46 fringes
108
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 10 :
a. State the similarities and differences of double-slit interference
and single slit diffraction patterns.
b. How many bright fringes will be produced on the screen if a
green light of wavelength 553 nm is incident on a slit of width
8.00 µ m?
Solution :
a. The similarities are
Double-slit interference pattern Single slit diffraction pattern

fringes.

## The central for both patterns is bright fringe.

109
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
a. The differences are
Double-slit interference pattern Single slit diffraction pattern
The width of each fringe is The central fringe is wider
the same. than the other fringes.
The intensity of each bright The intensity of bright
fringe is constant. fringes reduce as a distance
increase from the central
bright.
b. Given λ = 553 × 10 −9 m; a = 8.00 × 10 −6 m
By applying the equation for bright (maximum) fringe,
 1
a sin θ =  n + λ
 2
For the maximum no. of order for bright fringe, θ = 90
Central bright
fringe (
8 . 00 × 10 −6
)sin 90 
= n(max + 0 .5 )(
553 × 10 −9
)
nmax = 13.97 ≈ 13
Therefore the number of bright that can be observed is
(13 × 2)+1 = 27 fringes 110
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Exercise 2.3 :
1. Monochromatic light of wavelength 689 nm falls on a slit. If the
angle between first bright fringes on either side of the central
maximum is 38°, calculate the slit width.
(Physics for scientist & engineers ,3rd edition, Giancoli, Q4, p.913)
ANS. : 3.2 µ m
2. Light of wavelength 633 nm from a distant source is incident on a
single slit 0.750 mm wide, and the resulting diffraction pattern is
observed on a screen 3.50 m away. Determine the distance
between the two dark fringes on either side of the central bright
fringe.
(University physics,11th edition, Young&Freedman, Q36.4, p.1396)
ANS. : 5.91 mm
3. A screen is placed 1.00 m behind a single slit. The central
maximum in the resulting diffraction pattern on the screen is 1.60
cm wide. What is the distance between the two second order
minima?
(Physics,3rd edition, J.S.Walker, Q45, p.967)
ANS. : 3.20 cm 111
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Learning Outcome:
www.kmph.matrik.edu.my/physic s

## 2.7 Diffraction grating (2 hours)

At the end of this chapter, students should be able to:
 Explain with the aid of a diagram the formation of
diffraction.
 Apply formula,
1
d sinθ n = nλ where d=
N
 Describe with the aid of diagram the formation of
spectrum by using white light.

112
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2

## 2.7 Diffraction grating

 is defined as a large number of equally spaced parallel slits.
slits
 Diffraction grating can be made by ruling very fine parallel
lines on glass or metal by a very precise machine.
machine
 The untouched spaces between the lines serve as the slits as
shown in Figure 2.46.
d  Light passes through the slit because it is
transparent.
 The spaces between the lines are the slits,
for example : if there are four lines then we
have 3 slits.

lines slit
Figure 2.46
113
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 If there N lines per unit length, then slit separation, d is given
by: 1
d=
N
e.g. if a diffraction grating has 5000 lines per cm, then
1 1
d= = d = 2 × 10−4 cm
N 5000 cm
 The light that passes through the slits are coherent .
 The Interference pattern is narrower and sharper than double-
slits.
 There are two type of diffraction grating which are
 transmission grating (usual diffraction grating)
 reflection grating e.g. CD and DVD
 Diffraction grating is used in spectrometer to determine the
wavelength of light and to study spectra.
spectra

114
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.7.1 Explanation of diffraction by using Huygen’s
principle for diffraction grating
 Figure 2.47 shows an incident lights fall on the transmission
diffraction grating. C first order wavefront
A
source of secondary
wavelets
E
second order wavefront

incident lights
third order wavefront
D
F
grating
zeroth order wavefront

## Figure 2.47 B 115

PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Using Huygens’ principle, each maximum is located by taking
the tangent of the wavelets from the slits.
 If the wavelets from each of the slits are drawn and a tangent AB
is drawn, a plane wavefront parallel to the diffraction grating is
obtained. This represents the zeroth-order maximum (n = 0).
 If the wavelets are grouped such that the first wavelet from one
slit is combined with the second wavelet from the next slit, the
third wavelet from the third slit and so on, the tangent CD will
represent the first-order maximum (n =1).
 For the second-order maximum, the wavelets are grouped are
such that the second wavelet of one slit is combined with the
fourth wavelet of the next slit, the sixth wavelet from the third slit
and so on. (tangent EF)EF
 Similarly, the third-, fourth-,…. order maximum may be obtained.

116
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
2.7.2 Equation of diffraction grating
 Figure 2.48 illustrates light travels to a distant viewing screen
from five slits of the grating.
first order maximum
(n = 1)

## incoming plane central or zeroth order

wavefront of light
maximum (n = 0)

## first order maximum

(n = −1)
diffraction grating
Figure 2.48 d sin θ
d θ
θ
Figure 2.49
117
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 The maximum (bright) fringes are sometimes called the principal
maxima or principal fringes since they are placed where the light
intensity is a maximum.
 Since the screen is far so that the rays nearly parallel while the
light travels toward the screen as shown in Figure 2.49.
 In reaching the place on the screen while the 1st order maximum
is located, light from one slit travels a distance of one
wavelength farther than light from adjacent slit.
 Therefore the path difference for maximum fringe (constructive
interference) is given by
d sinθ n = nλ
where n : order = 0,±1,±2,±3,..
θ n : n th order of diffraction angle
 When
n=0 Central maximum fringe (0th order maximum)
n = ±1 1st maximum fringe (1st order maximum)
n = ±2 2nd maximum fringe (2nd order maximum)
118
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 The maximum fringes produce by a grating are much narrower
and sharper than those from a double-slit as the intensity graph
in Figures 2.50a and 2.50b.

Figure 2.50a

n = −2 −1 0 1 2

Figure 2.50b

n = −2 −1 0 1 2
119
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Figures 2.51 shows the diffraction grating pattern.

second-order
n=2 maximum
Parallel beam of
monochromatic light
first-order
θ2 n = 1 maximum
θ1 zero-order
n=0
maximum

n = −1first-order
maximum
grating
n = −2 second-order
maximum
Figure 2.51
120
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 If the white light is falls on the grating, a rainbow colours would
be observed to either side of the central fringe on the screen
which is white as shown in Figure 2.51. This because the white
light contains wavelengths between violet and red. red
n = −2 −1 0 1 2

## Rainbow Rainbow white Rainbow Rainbow

White
light
Figure 2.51 121
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
 Note:
 To calculate the maximum number of orders for bright
observed take the diffraction angle,θ = 90°.
fringes observed,
Therefore
d sin 90 = nmaxλ

d
nmax =
λ
where nmax : maximum number of orders that can be
observed.
 From the equation for maxima, we obtain

sin θ n ∝ λ 1
and sin θ n ∝
d
 By using this two relations, the changes of diffraction grating
pattern can be explained.

122
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 11 :
A monochromatic light of unknown wavelength falls normally on a
diffraction grating. The diffraction grating has 3000 lines per cm.
If the angular separation between the first order maxima is 35°.
Calculate
a. the wavelength of the light,
b. the angular separation between the second-order and third-
order maxima.
Solution : N = 3000 cm −1 ; 2θ1 = 35 ; n = 1

## 1st order max.

max
 θ1
35
1st order max.
max

123
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution : N = 3000 cm ; 2θ1 = 35 ; n = 1
−1 

## a. The diffraction angle for 1st order maximum is

2θ1 = 35
θ1 = 17.5
And the slit separation, d is given by
1 1
d= d= −1
N 3000 cm
d = 3.33 × 10 −4 cm OR 3.33 × 10−6 m
Therefore the wavelength of the light is
d sin θ n = nλ
(3.33 ×10 ) sin θ
−6
1=λ
(3.33 ×10 ) sin 17.5
−6 

λ = 1.00 × 10 −6 m
124
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :
3rd order
b. n=3 maximum

∆θ 23 2nd order
n = 2 maximum
θ3
θ2 0th order
n=0
maximum
2nd order
n = −2 maximum

3rd order
n = −3 maximum
By using the equation of diffraction grating for maxima,
d sin θ n = nλ

125
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :
b. For 2nd order maximum,n=2
d sin θ 2 = 2λ
(3.33 ×10−6 ) sin θ 2 = 2(1.00 ×10−6 )
θ 2 = 36.9
For 3 order maximum, n = 3
rd

d sin θ 3 = 3λ
(3.33 ×10−6 ) sin θ3 = 3(1.00 ×10−6 )
θ 3 = 64.3
Therefore the angular separation,
∆θ 23 = θ 3 − θ 2
∆θ 23 = 64.3 − 36.9
∆θ 23 = 27.4
126
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Example 12 :
The second-order maximum produced by a diffraction grating with
560 lines per centimeter is at an angle of 3.1°.
a. What is the wavelength of the light that illuminates the grating?
b. Determine the number of maximum can be observed on a
screen.
c. State and giving reason, what you would expect to observe if a
grating with a larger number of lines per centimeter is used.
Solution : N = 56 × 10 m ; θ 2 = 3.1 ; n = 2
3 −1 

## a. By applying the equation of diffraction grating for 2nd order

maximum, thus 1
d sin θ 2 = 2λ and d =
sin θ 2 = 2 Nλ N
(
sin 3.1 = 2 56 × 103 λ )
λ = 4.83 ×10 −7 m
127
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Solution :
b. By applying the equation of grating for maximum,
1
d sin θ n = nλ and d=
sin θ n = nNλ N
For the maximum no. of order for maximum fringe, θ n = 90
°
(
sin 90 = nmax 56 ×10 4.83 × 10
3
)( −7
)
nmax = 36.97 ≈ 36
Therefore the number of maximum can be observed is
(36 × 2)+1 = 73 fringes
c. The fringes become farther to each another.
another
Reason : since 1 1
sin θ ∝ and d = sin θ ∝N
d N
a larger number of lines per cm results in a larger
diffraction angle thus the distance between two
consecutive maximum fringes will increase.
128
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2
Exercise 2.4 :
1. The first-order maximum line of 589 nm light falling on a diffraction
grating is observed at an angle of 15.5°. Determine
a. the slit separation on the grating.
b. the angle of diffraction for third-order maximum line.
(Physics for scientist & engineers ,3rd edition, Giancoli, Q32, p.914)
ANS. : 2.20 µ m; 53.4°
2. A diffraction grating has 6000 lines per cm. Calculate the angular
separation between wavelengths 589.6 nm and 546.1 nm
respectively after transmission through it at normal incidence, in
the first-order spectrum (maximum line).
ANS. : 1.60°
3. When blue light of wavelength 465 nm illuminates a diffraction
grating, it produces a 1st order maximum but no 2nd order
maximum.
a. Explain the absence of 2nd order maximum.
b. What is the maximum spacing between lines on this grating?
(Physics,3rd edition, J.S.Walker, Q65, p.968)
ANS. : 930 nm 129
PHYSICS CHAPTER 2

Next Chapter…
CHAPTER 3 :
Electrostatics

130