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4.1 Single-Slit Diffraction

  • Diffraction can send a wave around the edges of an opening or other obstacle.
  • A single slit produces an interference pattern characterized by a broad central maximum with narrower and dimmer maxima to the sides.

4.2 Intensity in Single-Slit Diffraction

  • The intensity pattern for diffraction due to a single slit can be calculated using phasors as

    where β=ϕ2=πasinθλβ=ϕ2=πasinθλ, a is the slit width, λλ is the wavelength, and θθ is the angle from the central peak.

4.3 Double-Slit Diffraction

  • With real slits with finite widths, the effects of interference and diffraction operate simultaneously to form a complicated intensity pattern.
  • Relative intensities of interference fringes within a diffraction pattern can be determined.
  • Missing orders occur when an interference maximum and a diffraction minimum are located together.

4.4 Diffraction Gratings

  • A diffraction grating consists of a large number of evenly spaced parallel slits that produce an interference pattern similar to but sharper than that of a double slit.
  • Constructive interference occurs when dsinθ=mλform=0,±1,±2,...,dsinθ=mλform=0,±1,±2,..., where d is the distance between the slits, θθ is the angle relative to the incident direction, and m is the order of the interference.

4.5 Circular Apertures and Resolution

  • Diffraction limits resolution.
  • The Rayleigh criterion states that two images are just resolvable when the center of the diffraction pattern of one is directly over the first minimum of the diffraction pattern of the other.

4.6 X-Ray Diffraction

  • X-rays are relatively short-wavelength EM radiation and can exhibit wave characteristics such as interference when interacting with correspondingly small objects.

4.7 Holography

  • Holography is a technique based on wave interference to record and form three-dimensional images.
  • Lasers offer a practical way to produce sharp holographic images because of their monochromatic and coherent light for pronounced interference patterns.
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