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 copernicus1 Feb25-13 10:42 PM

Young's double slit experiment

Why did Young specifically perform a double-slit experiment to demonstrate the wave nature of light, since light will diffract and interfere even through a single slit? Is there something special demonstrated by the double-slit experiment that's not demonstrated by a single-slit experiment? (I'm specifically interested in the 19th century experiment...I understand the importance of the modern versions of the double-slit experiment.)

 razal_ak47 Feb25-13 10:52 PM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

in single slit experiment,light wil diffract but will not interfere as there is no path difference.
we will get a bigger circle of light than the slit on the shadow region.

inorder to have interference there should be path bath difference,so we have two slits.

wave nature could only explain interference.

 copernicus1 Feb25-13 10:54 PM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Quote:
 Quote by razal_ak47 (Post 4286001) in single slit experiment,light wil diffract but will not interfere as there is no path difference. we will get a bigger circle of light than the slit on the shadow region. inorder to have interference there should be path bath difference,so we have two slits. wave nature could only explain interference.
Thanks, but don't you get a sinc function through a single slit? And doesn't that demonstrate interference? You'd have a bright central maximum and then smaller maxima on either side. Doesn't this indicate that interference is occurring?

 razal_ak47 Feb26-13 12:25 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

if we observe shadow region after diffraction, we have a bright circle and comparitvely darker circles around it,until it becomes dark...
we dont have maxima,minima and then again maxima.

just make a small hole in a thick paper,pass light..you can observe

 jtbell Feb26-13 12:34 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Quote:
 Quote by copernicus1 (Post 4285990) Why did Young specifically perform a double-slit experiment to demonstrate the wave nature of light
Have you seen Young's original description to the Royal Society in 1803? He did not do a "double slit" experiment as we would describe it today. The first experiment that he describes, uses a single obstacle of width 1/30 inch, which is basically the complement of a single slit.

 copernicus1 Feb26-13 09:18 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Quote:
 Quote by jtbell (Post 4286107) Have you seen Young's original description to the Royal Society in 1803? He did not do a "double slit" experiment as we would describe it today.
Thanks! This is helpful. I also found this webpage which discusses the difference between the single and double slit experiments as really just a matter of degree, with the interference pattern being much easier to see with two slits instead of one.

http://www.studyphysics.ca/newnotes/...t/lesson58.htm

 MikeGomez Feb27-13 09:07 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

I believe your question on Young's original experiment has been answered.

Here is some information regarding your other question...

Quote:
 Quote by copernicus1 (Post 4285990) Is there something special demonstrated by the double-slit experiment that's not demonstrated by a single-slit experiment?

Yes, there is a difference. Look at this wikipedia article under the section "Example: Difraction patterns"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Envelope_(waves)

There they say "The first factor, the single-slit result I1, modulates the more rapidly varying second factor that depends upon the number of slits and their spacing."

 MikeGomez Feb27-13 09:13 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Quote:
 Quote by razal_ak47 (Post 4286001) in single slit experiment,light wil diffract but will not interfere as there is no path difference. we will get a bigger circle of light than the slit on the shadow region. inorder to have interference there should be path bath difference,so we have two slits. wave nature could only explain interference.
Ok., but then here is what Richard Feynman had to say about it.

"No-one has ever been able to define the difference between interference and diffraction satisfactorily. It is just a question of usage, and there is no specific, important physical difference between them."

 jtbell Feb27-13 10:26 AM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Quote:
 Quote by razal_ak47 (Post 4286001) in single slit experiment,light will diffract but will not interfere as there is no path difference.
There is no path difference only in the limit of an "ideal slit" that has zero width. A real slit has a non-zero width, and there is a path difference for light rays that arrive at a single point on a viewing screen, from two different points along the width of the slit. This is what gives you the usual single-slit diffraction pattern.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...t/sinslit.html

As for the difference between interference and diffraction, I think of interference as the more general phenomenon: the superposition of waves with different phases; whereas diffraction is one consequence of interference, namely the "bending" of light around obstacles.

In setups with slits, we tend to associate the term "interference" with effects due to the superposition of waves from different slits, and "diffraction" with effects due to the superposition of waves from different points in the same slit.

 sophiecentaur Feb27-13 12:35 PM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

The reason that the two slits experiment is used, these days and probably pretty soon after the Young's firest demo will almost certainly be because the results are so visually stunning and can't just be put down to the 'natural fuzziness' of light coming from a single one. The sinc function is just not very impressive, compared with a dozen or more obvious fringes of equal brightness.

imho, 'everything' in optics is diffraction - it's just that some images show the wave nature of light more than others.
What we describe as interference is more of your Σ, whereas diffraction is more of your ∫.

 Philip Wood Feb27-13 02:30 PM

Re: Young's double slit experiment

Sophiecentaur. Agree: it's more impressive.

The maths of predicting the pattern is also easier (if we neglect (treat as constant) the 'modulating factor' due to diffraction at each single slit). So we have a demonstration which is both impressive and simple to explain.

[I think that Young, though much better educated than Faraday, was not especially interested in treating various cases of interference and diffraction mathematically. Fresnel was. In this respect Fresnel's work in wave theory might perhaps be compared to Young's as we compare Maxwell's work in electromagnetism to Faraday's.]

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