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Wave Optics
(CLASS XII PHYSICS)

Concepts
PS = QR and Ð i = Ð r
WAVEFRONT
Refraction :
The locus of all particles vibrating in the same phase is called
wavefront.
(a) Each point of wavefront is considered as source of secondary Q Rarer medium
wavelets.
(b) The ray of light is considered in the direction of outward i i
R Interface
normal to the wavefront. P r r
Waves from a point source spread out in all directions, while light
Denser medium
was seen to travel along narrow rays. It required the insight and
experiment of Huygens, Young and Fresnel to understand how a s
wave theory could explain all aspects of the behaviour of light.
QR V1 Sin i m 2 sin i
HUYGENS’ PRINCIPLE = = = or m =
PS V2 Sin r m1 sin r
It tells us that each point on a wavefront is a source of secondary
waves, which add up to give the wavefront at a later time. Huygens’ THE INTERFERENCE PRINCIPLE OF SUPERPOSITION
construction tells us that the new wavefront is the forward envelope OF WAVES
of the secondary waves. When the speed of light is independent It applies whenever two or more sources of light illuminate the
of direction, the secondary waves are spherical. The rays are then same point. When we consider the intensity of light due to these
sources at the given point, there is an interference term in addition
perpendicular to both the wavefronts and the time of travel is the
to the sum of the individual intensities. But this term is important
same measured along any ray.
only if it has a non-zero average, which occurs only if the sources
have the same frequency and a stable phase difference. Two waves
arriving at same point produce brightness (constructive
Point source interference) if their path difference is equal to nl, where n is an
integer = 0, 1, 2, 3, ........ etc. They produce darkness (destructive
Secondary l
wavelets interference) when path difference is equal to (2n + 1) where n
2
Primary Secondary = = 0, 1, 2, 3, ........ etc.
wavefront wavefront Interference of Two Waves
When two waves of same frequency travel in a medium
This principle leads to the well known laws of reflection and
simultaneously in the same direction then, due to their
refraction. superposition, the resultant intensity at any point of the medium
The Huygen’s theory fails to explain photoelectric effect , Compton is different from the sum of intensities of the two waves. At some
effect, Roman effect etc. points the intensity of the resultant wave is very large while at
REFLECTION AND REFRACTION OF WAVEFRONT some other points it is very small or zero .
Reflection : Mathematical interpretation of interference of two waves :
Let us consider two simple harmonic progressive waves of the
same frequency travelling in the same direction, Let a1 and a2 be
QS the amplitudes of the waves at that point be y1 and y2 then.
i i r
r y1 = a1 sin wt ............. (i)
Reflecting surface
P R
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and y2 = a sin (wt +f) .............(ii) Second bright
w/2p is the frequency of each wave. By the principle of Second dark
superposition, the resultant displacement at the point is given by First bright

Inte rfe rence fringes


y = y1 + y2 S1 First dark
Let a1 + a2 cos f = R cos q .............(iii)
and a2 sin f =R sin q .............(iv) Central bright
Light First dark
where R and q are new constants. Source
then y = R sin (wt + q) S2 First bright
To determine R, we square eq.(iii) and (iv) and then add: Second dark
R2 cos2 q + R2 sin2q = (a1 + a2 cosf)2 + (a2 sin f)2 Second bright
or R2 = a12 + a22 + 2a1a2 cosf
Screen
The intensity is directly proportional to the square of the amplitude. P
Hence the resultant intensity I is given by
I µ (a12 + a22 + 2a1a2 cosf) and phase angle f
yn
a 2 sin f q
= tan–1 q
a1 + a 2 cos f O
d
Thus the resultant intensity at any point depends upon the phase
M
difference f between the two waves at that point.
Interference Due to Transmitted Light D
P

r If the point P is nth bright fringe, Dx = nl and hence


S
D
i (y n )Bright = (nl ) with n = 0, 1, 2 etc.
d
C AIR l
A Similarly, if the point P is nth minima, Dx = (2n - 1)
2
t r
M D l
r r (y n )Dark =(2n - 1) with n = 1, 2, ........ etc.
r D d 2
i Now as fringe-width b is defined as the distance between two
AIR
B consecutive maxima (or minima) on the screen, i.e.,
N Q lD
D
b = Dy for Dx = l So, b = (l ) = .
R d d
The optical path difference between the reflected ray (DQ) and Angular width of the fringe :
the transmitted ray (NR) is given by x = m(BC + CD) - BN From fig., we notice that the angular width a, is related to the
linear fringe width b by
On simplification, we get x = 2mt cos r
b l
If 2mt cos r = nl , where n = 0, 1, 2, 3, .............then constructive aD = b or a = or a =
D d
interference takes place and the film appears bright. Shifting of fringes : Suppose a
P
l glass slab of thickness t and
If 2mt cos r = (2n + 1) , n = 0, 1, 2, ....... then destructive refractive index µ is inserted onto S1 y
2
the path of the ray emanating
interference takes place and the film appears dark.
from source S1 then the
YOUNG’S DOUBLE SLIT EXPERIMENT (YDSE) whole fringe pattern S2
Young’s double slit of separation d gives equally spaced fringes
of angular separation l/d. The source, mid-point of the slits, and (m - 1) tD
shifts by a distance .
central bright fringe lie in a straight line. An extended source will d
destroy the fringes if it subtends angle more than l/d at the slits. (a) Shift is independent of n, (the order of the fringe), i.e., shift of
The resultant intensity of two waves of intensity I0 phase zeroorder maximum = shift of 7th order maximum = shift of 5th
éfù order maximum = shift of 9th order maximum and so on.
difference f at any point is given by I = I0 cos2 ê ú , where I0 is (b) Shift is independent of l, i.e., if white light is used then, shift
ë2û
of red colour fringe = shift of violet colour fringe.
the maximum density.
(c) Number of fringes shifted
shift (m - 1)tD / d (m - 1) t
= = =
fringe width lD / d l

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These numbers are inversely proportional to l. This is because
l
shift is same for all colours but fringe width of the colour having And bright if 2µt cos r = (2n + 1) ; n = 0, 1, 2.
2
smaller value of l is small, so more number of fringes will shift of
The minimum thickness (n = 1) of a film which appears dark by
this colour.
reflection at normal incidence (r = 0°) is 2µt = l.
If the interference experiment is performed in a medium of refractive
The minimum thickness of a film, which appears bright under normal
index m instead of air, the wavelength of light will change from l to
incidence of monochromatic light of wavelength l is
l Dælö b
. i.e. B´= ç ÷ = l
m d èmø m 2m t =
2
Fresnel Biprism COHERENT SOURCES
Biprism is actually a prism, whose refracting angle a is extremely The two sources of light, whose frequencies are same and the
1/2° or 1°. When a biprism is used in front of a slit illuminated by phase difference between the waves emitted by which remains
a monochromatic source of light, then due to refraction by the constant with respect to time are defined as coherent sources.
biprism, two virtual sources S1 and S2 are formed. There occurs NEWTON'S RINGS
division of wavefront. The two virtual images act as two coherent Newton observed the formation of interference rings when a plano-
sources. convex lens is placed on a plane glass plate. When viewed with
The waves refracted from the upper and lower portions of the biprism white light, the fringes are coloured while with monochromatic
superimpose to interfere and produce interference pattern. light, the fringes are bright and dark. These fringes are produced
due to interference between the light reflected from the lower
surface of the lens and the upper surface of the glass plate.
Interference can also take place due to transmitted light.

Air film

Newton's Rings by Reflected Light


Here, interference takes place due to reflected light. Therefore, for
bright rings,
l
2 mt cos q = (2n - 1) where n = 1, 2, 3, ......
2
If d is the distance between the two virtual sources, then it can be
proved that d = 2a (µ – 1) a And for dark rings, 2 mt cos q = nl , n = 1, 2, 3, ......
where a is the distance between the biprism and the slit, µ is the
refractive index of the material of the prism and a is the prism
angle (the refracting angle).
é 1 pc ù L
Use a in radians ê a = 2 ´ 1 8 0 ú .
ëê ûú
Air film
lD G
Fringe Width b : It is given by b =
d
where l is the wavelength used, D is the distance between slit S Proceeding further, we get the radius of rings as follows:
(i.e. position of the two virtual sources) and the screen, and d is
(2n - 1)lR
the separation between the virtual sources. For bright rings, r =
When Fresnel’s biprism experimental arrangement is immersed in 2
water then d = decreases (dwater < dair) For dark rings, r = nlR, where R = radius of curvature of lens.
l w < l air (wavelength decreases) ; Newton's Rings by Transmitted Light
bwater > bair (fringe width increases) ; Here, interference takes place due to transmitted light.

(m g - 1)
bwater = bair
(m g - m w )
A thin film of thickness t and refractive index µ appears dark by
reflection when viewed at an angle of refraction r if
2µt cos r = nl (n = 1, 2, 3, etc.)
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at a general point P is
sin b p b sin q
E0 ' = E0 where b = and
b l
L E0 = amplitude at the point P0 i.e. at q = 0
sin 2 b
The intensity at a general point P is given as I = I 0
b2
G
(ii) The graph for the variation of intensity as a function of sinq
is as follows :

Therefore, I
I0
for bright rings, 2mt cos q = nl , n = 0, 1, 2, ....
l
for dark rings, 2mt cos q = (2n - 1) , n = 0,1, 2, ......
2
I0 / 22 I0 / 62.5

(2n - 1)lR
proceeding further, we get Radii of bright rings, r = -3l -2l -l O l sinq
2 2l 3l
b b b b b b
DIFFRACTION
Diffraction of light was first recorded (discovered) by Grimaldi in 2 lD ö
1665. The theoretical explanation was given by Fresnel. (iii) The width of the central maxima is æç ÷ and angular
è b ø
Diffraction is the bending of light around an obstacle and
spreading into the region of geometrical shadow. The diffraction æ 2l ö
effects are more noticeable if the size of the obstacle is small width of central maxima is ç ÷ .
è b ø
(wavelengh-size).
Fraunhoffer Diffraction by a Circular Aperture
Fresnel Diffraction (i) The 1st dark ring is formed by the light diffracted from the
In this class of diffraction, the source or the screen or both are at circular aperture at an angle q with the axis where
finite distances from the aperture or obstacle causing diffraction.
In this case no lenses or mirrors are used. 1.22l
sin q » where T = wavelength of light used,
Fraunhoffer Diffraction b
In this class of diffraction, the source and the screen on which the b = diameter of circular aperture
pattern is observed are at infinite distances from the aperture or
the obstacle causing diffraction. Fraunhoffer diffraction pattern Circular aperture
can be easily observed by using lenses. The incident light beam is
made parallel with a lens and the diffracted beam is focussed on
b q
the screen with another lens.
Fraunhoffe Diffraction Due to Single Slit
In single slit diffraction, imagine aperature to be divided into two
D
equal halves. Secondary sources in these two halves give first Screen
minima at bsinq = l
(ii) If the screen is at a distance D (D >> b) from the circular
aperture, the radius of the 1st dark ring is,
P 1.22lD
q R»
b
q
b P0 (iii) If the light transmitted by the hole is converged by a
q
converging lens at the screen placed at the focal plane of
1.22lf
the lens, the radius of the 1st dark ring is R =
D b
This radius is also called the radius of diffraction disc.
l For plane transmission diffraction grating
In general, bsinq = nl for minima and, b sin q = (2 n + 1) for (a + b) sin qn = nl – for maxima, where a = width of transparent
2
maxima. portion, b = width of opaque portion.
(i) The points of the maximum intensity lie nearly midway between A diffraction grating is made by a number of parallel slits ruled on
the successive minima. The amplitude E0' of the electric field a glass plate using a fine diamond point. The nth maximum appears

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at an angle qn given by equation sin qn = Nn l , where N is the the help of polaroids or Nicol prism then such type of light is
number of slits in unit length of the grating. If a is the width of the called plane polarised light or linearly polarised. The phenomenon
slit and b distance between the slits, then (a + b) is called grating by which, we restrict the vibrations of wave in a particular direction
Fig.(b) ^ to direction of wave propagation is called polarisation.
1 The plane of vibration is that which contains the vibrations of
element. N =
a +b r
electric vector E and plane of polarisation is perpendicular to the
RESOLVING POWER OF TELESCOPES AND plane of vibration
MICROSCOPES Tourmaline and calcite polarizes an e.m. wave passing through it.
A large number of images are formed as a consequence of light Polarisation by Reflection (Brewster’s Law)
diffraction from a source. If two sources are separated such that
During reflection of a wave, we obtain a particular angle called
their central maxima do not overlap, their images can be
angle of polarisation, for which the reflected light is completely
distinguished and are said to be resolved R.P. of an optical plane polarised.
instrument is its ability to distinguish two neighbouring points. m = tan (ip)
Linear R.P. = d/lD Reflected light
Angular R.P. = d/l is polarised.
D = Observed distance
ip
d = Distance between two points ip+rp=90º
Rarer medium
1.22l 90º
Telescope : Limit of resolution = q = sin–1 ; Denser medium
a rp
1.22l
For small angles q =
a
1
Resolving power =
limit of resolution ip : angle of incidence, such that the reflected and refracted waves
Microscope : Limit of resolution (the smallest distance between are perpendicular to each other.
Law of Malus
1.22l
two objects) = xmin = If the electric vector is at angle q with the transmission axis, light
2µsin q is partially transmitted. The intensity of transmitted light is
Prism : R.P. = t (dµ/dl) = l/dl.
I = I 0 cos 2 q where I0 is the intensity when the incident electric
Diffraction Grating :
vector is parallel to the transmission axis.
R.P. = l/dl = N × n
Polarisation can also be achieved by scattering of light.
(N is total number of lines and n is the order of spectrum)
Eye : The limit of resolution of human eye is 1' of arc (One minute (a) Plane polarised : oscillating E field is in a single plane.
of arc)
(b) Circularly polarised : tip of oscillating E field describes a
POLARISATION
An ordinary source such as bulb consists of a large number of circle.
waves emitted by atoms or molecules in all directions (c) Elliptically polarised : tip of oscillating E field describes an
symmetrically. Such light is called unpolarized light (fig - a)
ellipse.
Y Source
DOPPLER’S EFFECT FOR LIGHT WAVES
(a) When the source moves towards the stationary observer or
Direction of the observer moves towards the source, the apparent
X wave motion frequency.
æ vö
Z n´= n ç1 + ÷ ( Blue shift )
è cø
Fig (a) Unpolarised light
(b) When the source moves away from the stationary observer
æ vö
or vice-versa, n´= n ç1 - ÷ (Red shift)
è cø
where n´ = Apparent frequency, n = Active frequency
v = Velocity of source, c = Velocity of light
But in both cases, the relative velocity v is small.
Fig (b) Polarised light
If we confine the direction of wave vibration of electric vector in
one direction perpendicular to direction of wave propagation with

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