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

Wavelength and resolution

  1. Jan 28, 2009 #1
    Hi there!

    What is meant by saying that a photon of smaller wavelength can resolve smaller distances?

    I know from scattering theory that the form factor is the Fourier transform of the charge distribution and that knowing the form factor at high momentum transfers gives a better overall picture of the distribution. But without information from measurements at long wavelengths, the distribution can't be reconstructed either, can it?

    I also know the "argument" using the uncertainty relation. But the UR connects the typical length scale and momentum uncertainty of one single wavefunction but in this context it is used in the way that [itex]\Delta x[/itex] is related to the target's extension whereas [itex]\Delta p[/itex] is the photon's momentum. I simply don't get it.

    Thanks to you all!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2009 #2

    Limits on angular resolution with wavelength are best descibed by wave mechanics using the concept of diffraction limitations, and is given by the Rayleigh criterion.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook