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Exploration 38.1: Modeling Diffraction from a Slit

wavelength:

Enter values for a new source:

x position:

y position:

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

The animation simulates waves from a point source of light. Sources can be added by entering a position and clicking on "add source" and then "set wavelength and play." The position of sources can be changed by dragging in the applet (position is given in arbitrary units).

  1. Use the animation to model diffraction from a slit. Turn in a screen shot showing your model along with an explanation of your model. Discuss any limitations of your model.
  2. As the width of the slit opening is increased, the diffraction pattern should narrow. Confirm that your model is correct by testing this property. Turn in a screen shot of your test as evidence.
  3. As the wavelength of light through the slit is decreased, the diffraction pattern should narrow. Confirm that your model is correct by testing this property. Turn in a screen shot of your test as evidence.

This applet calculates seven frames and then runs continuously. For a large number of sources, or for very small wavelengths, this calculation can take some time, so let the applet finish calculating all seven frames.

Download PDF Worksheet

Exploration authored by Melissa Dancy and Wolfgang Christian.

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