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Homework Help: Question about Light incident at an angle on a diffraction grating.

  1. Nov 13, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Show that the equation mλ=dsinθ becomes mλ=d[ sin(θ-κ) + sin(κ) ] when the light is incident on the diffraction grating at an angle κ to the normal.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I am not quite sure of the answer (we are just learning this in class and I am doing practice problems to help me get a better understanding) I have tried working it out but I can't seem to understand :S :(
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Then show your work please, so we can see what went wrong.
  4. Nov 13, 2013 #3
    Okay I'll explain what I have done. The problem with this is, I haven't done this kinda of physics in so long... so my understanding might be off entirely but...

    When the light comes in incident at some angle η, there must be a diffracted wavelength of θ' .
    However because it is incident at an angle, I think that the diffraction is less then if it hit the grating perpendicular. So there is some relation between the incident and diffracted wavelength, much like there is between incident light and refracted light in different mediums.

    Okay so... I am thinking that if the angle is to be diffracted at some θ' then it must be related somehow to the diffracted angle when light is perpendicular to the grating...

    So I think that the diffractions should be located in the same spot. But now the angle would sin(θ-η)
    But if the locations would be the same, you would have to add the sin of the incident angle η?
  5. Nov 14, 2013 #4


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    What is a "diffracted wavelength"?
    What does that mean?
    The wavelength does not change.

    It is all about length differences. You have to consider both sides here.

    There is some relation, but the angles are not the same.
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