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Single slit with minimum uncertainty

  1. Feb 27, 2017 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A horizontal beam of laser light of wavelength 474 nm passes through a narrow slit that has width 5.80×10−2 mm . The intensity of the light is measured on a vertical screen that is 2.40 m from the slit.
    Use the result of part A to estimate the width of the central diffraction maximum that is observed on the screen.
    (Part A: What is the minimum uncertainty in the vertical component of the momentum of each photon in the beam after the photon has passed through the slit? I got this part.)

    2. Relevant equations
    $$\theta = \arcsin(\lambda/a)$$
    $$y = d * \tan\theta$$

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I just used the two equations above first to get theta and then to get y and times y by two to get the central diffraction maximum but that's wrong. I'm missing at which part I'm supposed to use the minimum uncertainty. Can anyone explain, please?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2017 #2

    TSny

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    It could be that you are expected to answer part (B) without using the optics single slit diffraction formulas. Instead, use the result of part (A). Treat the photon as traveling in the x direction before reaching the slit. As it passes through the slit, it picks up some y-component of momentum that you can estimate from your answer in part (A). (Careful with factors of 2, etc.) Use the x and y components of momentum of the photon as it leaves the slit to estimate the direction the photon heads out from the slit. Therefore, estimate where it will hit the screen.
     
  4. Feb 27, 2017 #3
    I don't understand how I can use that to work out the central diffraction maximum. $$\Delta Py*\Delta y<h/4\pi$$ So is $$\Delta y$$ the central diffraction maximum? Where does the x component come into it?
     
  5. Feb 27, 2017 #4

    TSny

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    ##\Delta y## is the uncertainty in the y position of the photon as it passes through the slit. You must have used this idea when working part (A).

    ##\Delta P_y## is the corresponding uncertainty in y-component of momentum that the photon acquires in order to satisfy the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It's your answer to (A).

    You are only doing an estimate. So, roughly speaking, you can say that the photons leave the slit with a y-component of momentum that could be anything between ##+\Delta P_y/2## and ##- \Delta P_y/2##. So, photons will arrive at the screen with a spread in the y direction which we assume corresponds roughly with the central maximum.
     
  6. Feb 28, 2017 #5
    I get this part but not the next part.
    I still don't get what the spread in the y-direction corresponds to?
     
  7. Feb 28, 2017 #6

    TSny

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    The direction the photon travels from the slit to the screen is the direction of the momentum vector of the photon. This direction is determined by the x and y components of the momentum: ##P_x## and ##P_y##.
     
  8. Feb 28, 2017 #7
    Thanks for explaining it
     
  9. Feb 28, 2017 #8

    TSny

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    OK. I think it would have been better if I had said that you can determine the direction θ from the magnitude of the momentum of the photon and the y-component of the momentum.

    upload_2017-2-28_11-12-28.png
     
  10. Feb 28, 2017 #9
    So then is $$\tan\theta * x = y$$ which is the central diffraction maximum? Or am I still missing something?
     
  11. Feb 28, 2017 #10

    TSny

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    This equation will give a rough estimate of the distance on the screen from the center of the central max to the first minimum. The width of the central maximum will be twice this distance.
     
  12. Feb 28, 2017 #11
    Ok, I get it. Thank you
     
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