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!

Homework Help: Young's double slit

  1. Apr 26, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    In a Young’s double-slit experiment using light of wavelength
    λ, a thin piece of Plexiglas having index of refraction
    n covers one of the slits. If the center point on the
    screen is a dark spot instead of a bright spot, what is the
    minimum thickness of the Plexiglas?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    If the center is to be a dark spot then the Plexiglas must delay the light by 1/2 λ.
    Call the distance from each slit to the center d.
    Call the thickness of the glass t.


    [itex]\frac{d}{\lambda} - (\frac{t}{\lambda/n} + \frac{d-t}{\lambda}) = \frac{1}{2}[/itex]

    My reasoning is that this must be true because there is an extra wavelength in one of the paths. The book, however, reverses it. It takes what I have inside the parenthesis and subtracts that from d/λ. Other than that we agree. Why does the book reverse it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Your equation results in negative t as n is greater than 1.

  4. Apr 27, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    What you mean is not clear.

    You are subtracting what's in parentheses from λ/d .

    ... and ditto to what ehild said.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  5. Apr 27, 2014 #4
    Yes but the book does (stuff) - l/d.
    So it does it in reverse. That makes no sense to me. The beam that travels through the plexi should be 1/2 lambda shorter and therefore their equation should equal -(1/2) in my mind.
  6. Apr 27, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    What is (stuff)-1/d????

    I do not think that the book subtracts λ/d. It is d/λ instead is it not?

    ## (\frac{t}{\lambda/n} + \frac{d-t}{\lambda})-\frac{d}{\lambda} = \frac{1}{2}##

    And that is correct.

    As the refractive index is higher than 1 in the plexi slab, the phase of the light wave changes more than in air. We say that the optical path difference between the waves should be |λ/2| in order to produce a black central spot. The optical distance is refractive index times physical distance. Both waves travel equal physical distances to the central spot, but the optical distance is nt for the plexi and d-t for air for the ray travelling through the plexiglass, while it is nd for the other ray. The ray though the plexiglass travelled a longer optical distance, its phase changed more than those of the other ray.

    Your formula results in negative thickness for the glass slab which is impossible.

  7. Apr 28, 2014 #6
    Thats where you made the mistake.The beam passing through the plexi covers larger optical path. So its path would be 1/2λ greater than the other.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted