# Single slit diffraction problem

In summary: I understand what you are saying now. In summary, the width of the slit should be comparable to the wavelength of the light, but it is not necessary that it be less than the wavelength.
I've read that if you want light to diffract through a single slit, the slit opening must be equal too or less than the wavelength of the light. So for example, light of wavelength 600nm would diffract through a slit with width 600nm or less. Is this true? Or am I missing something. Since when I saw a demonstration, the slit width was only 10^-4m apart and the light began to diffract.

Its not that the width of the slit should be less than or equal to the wavelength of the light,it only should be comparable to it.
Think about it this way: Imagine you want to throw a basketball through a hole.If the hole is a circle of radius 10m,you will have no trouble doing it and its very improbable that you hit the ball to the edges. But if the hole has a radius of 0.25m,then its really probable that you hit the edges.There is no sharp distinction in the radius spectrum that says radii greater than this one mean that the ball always goes through the hole and radii smaller than this one mean that the ball always hits the edges.
Some people may say that the dimensions of the hole must be somehow that the light "sees" the edges and so acts properly and if the dimensions are somehow that the light doesn't "see" the edges,there will be no diffraction(with a good approximation).

With apertures that are much larger than the wavelength, you do get diffraction effects at the edges, provided of course that the light actually passes by the edges. The width of the aperture can even extend to infinity in one direction, as in knife-edge (straight-edge) diffraction:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/difopa.html#c1

Here's a picture:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/bardif.html

A couple more pictures, with non-straight edges:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/bardif3.html#c1

Ahh thank you for the replies

Yes, it is true that the width of the slit must be equal to or less than the wavelength of the light for diffraction to occur. This is known as the single slit diffraction criterion. However, it is important to note that the diffraction pattern will be more pronounced and easier to observe when the slit width is close to the wavelength of the light. In your example, the light with a wavelength of 600nm will diffract through a slit of 10^-4m, but the diffraction pattern may not be as clear or defined compared to a slit of 600nm. This is because diffraction is a wave phenomenon and the closer the slit width is to the wavelength, the more the wave is able to interact with the edges of the slit, resulting in a more pronounced diffraction pattern. Additionally, other factors such as the distance between the slit and the screen, and the intensity of the light also play a role in the visibility of the diffraction pattern.

## 1. What is single slit diffraction?

Single slit diffraction is a phenomenon where a single slit is placed in front of a light source and the resulting diffraction pattern is observed on a screen. This occurs because the slit acts as a secondary source of light, causing interference patterns to form.

## 2. How does the width of the slit affect the diffraction pattern?

The width of the slit directly affects the diffraction pattern. A wider slit will produce a narrower diffraction pattern, while a narrower slit will produce a wider diffraction pattern. This is because the width of the slit determines the amount of diffraction that occurs.

## 3. What is the difference between single slit and double slit diffraction?

The main difference between single slit and double slit diffraction is the number of slits involved. In single slit diffraction, there is only one slit, while in double slit diffraction, there are two slits. This results in different interference patterns being formed.

## 4. What factors affect the diffraction pattern in single slit diffraction?

The factors that affect the diffraction pattern in single slit diffraction include the width of the slit, the wavelength of the light, and the distance between the slit and the screen. These factors all contribute to the overall shape and intensity of the diffraction pattern.

## 5. Why is single slit diffraction important in science?

Single slit diffraction is important in science because it helps us understand the wave-like nature of light. It also has practical applications in fields such as optics and spectroscopy, where the diffraction patterns can provide information about the properties of a light source.

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