Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Double-line experiment

  1. Feb 3, 2014 #1
    If I draw two vertical lines close to each other and watch them from a short distance then I can see an interference pattern. How do you explain it ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    This is vague.

    Using your eyes as your primary detector is seldom a good idea. I am sure you know all about optical illusions, etc. How would you know that what you are seeing isn't an optical illusion? If it is, this is now a biology/medical science topic, not a physics topic.

  4. Feb 3, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I had to try it to see what you meant. I don't believe this is an interference pattern. I believe it has more to do with the eye's inability to focus on close objects. When too close the lines appear out of focus (eg spread out) on the retina. This allows the image of one line to partially overlap with the image of the other line producing a third line in the middle. This effect is similar to..

  5. Feb 3, 2014 #4
    Hmm, I don't know ALL about optical illusions. I think that seeing the interference pattern in this case must be an optical illusion because I just draw the lines myself.

    Are you saying that this phenomenon is different from the double-slit experiment (i.e. light from two slits/lines interfering and causing the pattern ?
  6. Feb 3, 2014 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  7. Feb 3, 2014 #6
    There are two critical differences here. A simple interference requires monochromatic light (as with a laser). Also, the interference pattern is projected onto a screen without any optical focusing. When view by the eye, it would be difficult to defocus your eye enough to get the interference pattern to fall on the retina.

    If we set aside the double slits for a moment and simply look at a rough surface illuminated with laser light, you will see an interesting pattern of constructive and destructive interference. It's called "laser speckle".
  8. Feb 3, 2014 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Use your camera and put it at the same distance. Snap a photo. Does it see the same thing that you see?

    End of story.

  9. Feb 3, 2014 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    There is exactly the same diffraction pattern from two lines as two slits (of the same dimensions). Both are due to obstructions in the arriving wavefront. The two patterns add up to a uniform illumination of the 'screen'. So it's not a totally crazy idea at all. The difference is in the visibility. The two slit pattern is usually viewed in subdued (or zero) ambient light and you easily see the tiny amount of energy that gets through the slits. When you are looking at the pattern from two lines, what you can see is all the incident wave, less the tiny amount that is obstructed by the lines. Visibility is many orders of magnitude less. With the right optics, it is quite possible to see the side fringes from two lines but I doubt that you were actually observing that.

    .Scott's comment about needing good monochromatic light is even more relevant in the case of the lines.
  10. Feb 4, 2014 #9
    Well it's the only primary detector we have got I doubt very much that the camera or any other usefull device could be built using sound smell or hearing.Maybe you could think one into existence.
    Optical illusions are detected by the eye and all instruments in there manufacture are crafted from the input of vision.If you realy look at the subject closely I doubt you could without the aid of sight at some stage in your life.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Double-line experiment
  1. Double Slit Experiment (Replies: 4)