Hire a tutor

How does diffraction occur at a single slit?

Diffraction occurs at a single slit when light waves pass through and spread out.

When a beam of light passes through a narrow slit, it diffracts, or spreads out, into a pattern of bright and dark fringes on a screen placed behind the slit. This is due to the wave nature of light, as the light waves interfere with each other as they pass through the slit.

The extent of diffraction depends on the width of the slit and the wavelength of the light. The narrower the slit, the greater the diffraction, and the wider the slit, the less diffraction. Similarly, longer wavelengths diffract more than shorter wavelengths.

The diffraction pattern produced by a single slit can be described mathematically using the formula for the intensity of light, which takes into account the angle of diffraction and the distance from the slit to the screen. The central maximum of the pattern is the brightest point, with alternating bright and dark fringes on either side.

Single slit diffraction is an important phenomenon in physics and is used in various applications, such as in the design of optical instruments like telescopes and microscopes. Understanding the principles of diffraction is crucial for the development of these technologies.

Study and Practice for Free

Trusted by 100,000+ Students Worldwide

Achieve Top Grades in your Exams with our Free Resources.

Practice Questions, Study Notes, and Past Exam Papers for all Subjects!

Need help from an expert?

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

The world’s top online tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

Related Physics a-level Answers

    Read All Answers
    Loading...