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!

What is the explanation for this diffraction pattern?

  1. Mar 16, 2012 #1
    http://asymmetricphotons.davehewitt.com/__oneclick_uploads/2012/03/asymm.JPG [Broken]

    While playing with lasers in a simple home setup, I have produced asymmetrical diffraction patterns and have been unable to locate explanations in the public domain. By using a green led laser and two parallel panels to create a .5 mm single slit I got a normal diffraction pattern. Then moving one panel 1 cm closer to the laser source while maintaining the .5 mm gap, I got a pattern that changed from narrow bands on one side with progressively larger and wider spaced bands on the other extreme.

    Is this new and interesting or have multiple physics students been playing with these patterns for years without bothering to publish.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2012 #2
    Sorry, but this is nothing new. You will get a diffraction pattern even from a single edge. The fringe spacing depends on the wavelength and the distance to the screen- which is different for your two edges.
  4. Mar 16, 2012 #3
    I understand that, what struck me as hard to understand is that the pattern was progressive. It varies from thin to thick. Is this just a example of a ‘wave’ pattern where each band is affected by both edges?
  5. Mar 16, 2012 #4
    Here is a clearer pattern and the setup I used.
    http://asymmetricphotons.davehewitt.com/__oneclick_uploads/2012/03/asymetric1.jpg [Broken]

    http://asymmetricphotons.davehewitt.com/__oneclick_uploads/2012/03/setup.jpg [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Mar 16, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    The pattern will depend, entirely, on the details of the diffracting shape involved. What is the actual shape and setup? (not a picture of the equipment but a diagram of the 'slot' or whatever). Remember, the slot depth is relevant as well as the basic width dimension. The simple formula is for a slot in an infinitely thin sheet. In general, the pattern will never be just symmetrical.
  7. Mar 16, 2012 #6
    The light source is a green led laser, 532 nm.
    The target is a paper grid, ruled at 1 cm, 5 meters from the slit
    The slit consists of two aluminum panels, .2 mm thick, painted flat black, perpendicular to the laser beam.
    The panel on the left side is 1 cm closer to the laser.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook