1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I Huygens principle introduction

  1. May 30, 2016 #1
    why only the common tangential surface of the secondary wavelets forms the new wavefront ?
    what about all the other interferances that might occur between the waves of the secondary sources , like the constructive interferances that occur slightly offside towards the inside of the tangential surface but still have
    not been cancelled by destruactive interferance?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    There is no such thing, if you consider sufficiently large homogeneous areas. If you have very small surfaces or some patterns in the surface, you can get additional angles, this is the idea of diffraction.
  4. Jul 3, 2016 #3
    First thing you need to realise is that huygens principle is just an analysis tool.It helps you find how the wave front will be at a later time if we are given the initial wave front.You can look into huygens paper on his principle where he have shown if we can consider each new point in space where the wavefront reaches as a new source which emits spherical wavefronts then we can construct the later wavefront as the one joining all the common tangential surface of the secondary wavelets
  5. Jul 3, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    The Huygens principle is a heuristic way to approximately solve the (linear!) wave equation. The correct way is of course to use the corresponding retarded propagator. The first thing you learn is that it holds only in odd-dimensional spaces. E.g., in 2D-wave problems it's invalid!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted