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Width of central maximum in a single slit diffraction pattern

  1. Feb 10, 2008 #1
    hi everybody.
    I have a problem in finding the width of central maximum in a single slit diffraction pattern. theoritically, we say it is the distance between the two first minima on either sides of the central maxima. i feel this calculation leads to the width of central maxima+half minima on one side+half minima on other side.
    please somebody help me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2008 #2

    Claude Bile

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    Science Advisor

    I usually take the width of a single-slit diffraction pattern to be the full-width at half-maximum of the central peak, because it nicely corresponds to the argument of the sinc^2 function the diffraction pattern represents.

    In any case "width" of a single-slit diffraction pattern is somewhat arbitrary, and can really be whatever interval you define it to be. Astronomers I think use a different definition based on various criteria for resolving objects for example.

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