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# This sunset picture illustrates how diffraction of light in the atmosphere

can produce spectacular images. High ice crystals create the coloured
fringes and atmospheric layers with different properties distort the shape
of the sun.
DIFFRACTION DIFFRACTION DIFFRACTION DIFFRACTION
OF LIGHT OF LIGHT OF LIGHT OF LIGHT
Diffraction
3
Topics
Diffraction and wave theory of light
Single-slit diffraction
Intensity in single-slit diffraction
Diffraction at a circular aperture
Double-slit interference and diffraction
combined
Multiple slits
Diffraction gratings
Dispersion and resolving power
X-ray diffraction
Text Book:
PHYSICS VOL 2 by Halliday, Resnick and Krane (5
th
Edition)
MIT- MANIPAL
What is the cause of diffraction?
Bending of light around the obstacle or an small aperture
What is the result?
Light waves do not travel in straight line and cast sharp shadows
Of obstacles kept in the path.
The intensity does not become zero exactly where a geometric
Shadows starts; but it gradually decreases to zero in a small distance
Definition
The phenomenon of bending of light around the edges of obstacles or slits,
and hence its encroachment into the region of geometrical shadowis
known as diffraction.
What is diffraction?
According to Huygens wave theory of light,
Light travels in the form of waves and produces wave fronts in a
medium.
Each and every point on a particular wave front vibrates in the same
phase.
Each point on a particular wave front behaves like a secondary source,
sending out secondary waves.
These secondary waves starting out from different secondary sources on
a wave front can interfere.
This interference is called diffraction
The phenomenon of bending of light around the edges of obstacles or
slits, and hence its encroachment into the region of geometrical shadow is
known as diffraction.
For diffraction effects to be noticeable, the size of the object causing
diffraction should have dimensions comparable to the wavelength of light
falling on the object.
6
Fig: Diffraction pattern of razor blade viewed in
monochromatic light
BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11
DIFFRACTION AND WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT
MIT- MANIPAL
7 BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11
Diffraction pattern occurs when
coherent wave-fronts of light fall on
opaque barrier B, which contains an
aperture of arbitrary shape. The
diffraction pattern can be seen on
screen C.
When C is very close to B a geometric
diffraction effects are negligible.
DIFFRACTION AND WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT
MIT- MANIPAL
8
DIFFRACTION AND WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT
BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11
In fraunhofer diffraction, both the incident and
emergent wave-fronts are plane (the rays are
parallel) i.e., both the source and the screen are
effectively at infinite distances, from the
aperture causing diffraction.
Fraunhofer diffraction is a special limiting
case of the more general Fresnel diffraction.
In laboratory Fraunhofer diffraction is
realized by using converging lenses for
conversion of spherical wavefront into plane
wavefront and vice versa.
MIT- MANIPAL
9 BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11
Fresnal Diffraction: The incident wave
fronts are spherical or cylindrical. i.e.,
the source of light is at a finite
distance from the diffracting aperture.
The screen on which the diffraction
pattern is displayed is also at a finite
distance fromthe diffracting aperture.
DIFFRACTION AND WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT
MIT- MANIPAL
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
10 BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11
All the diffracted rays arriving at P
0
are in-phase.
Hence they interfere constructively and produce maximum (central
maximum) of intensity I
0
at P
0
.
MIT- MANIPAL
11
At point P
1
,
path difference between r
1
and r
2
is (a/2) sin

=
=
sin
2
sin
2
minimum, first for condition the So
a or
a
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
This is satisfied for every pair of rays, one of which is from upper half of the slit and
the other is a corresponding ray from lower half of the slit.
12
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
At point P
2
,
path difference between r
1
and r
2
is (a/4) sin

2 sin
2
sin
4
minimum, second for condition the So
= = a or
a
This is satisfied for every pair of rays, separated by a distance a/4.
. . . 3, 2, 1, m sin
minima, m for condition the general, In
TH
= = m a
NOTE: There is a secondary maximum approximately half way between each
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 13
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
Problem: SP42-1
A slit of width a is illuminated by white light. For what value of a does the
first minimum for red light ( = 650nm) fall at = 15
o
?
Ans: a = 2510nm = 2.51m
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 14
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
Problem: SP42-2
In SP42-1, what is the wavelength of the light whose first diffraction
maximum (not counting the central maximum) falls at 15
o
, thus coinciding
with the first minimum of red light?
Ans: a sin = 1.5. So, =433nm.
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 15
SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
Problem: E42-5
A single slit is illuminated by light whose wavelengths are
a
and
b
, so
chosen that the first diffraction minimum of
a
component coincides with
the second minimumof the
b
component.
(a) What is the relationship between the two wavelengths?
(b) Do any other minima in the two patterns coincide?
Ans: 2 : 1 , m
a
= m
b
/2
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 16
1. Distinguish between Fresnel and Fraunhofer Diffraction. 
2. Write a short note on wave fronts. 
3. Write a short note on Huygens wave theory 
4. Discuss the diffraction due to single-slit. Obtain the locations of the
minima and maxima qualitatively.
5. Obtain an expression for the intensity in single-slit diffraction pattern,
using phasor-diagram. 
17
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
Aim is to find an expression for the intensity of the entire pattern as a
function of the diffraction angle.(using phasors)
Imagine slit of width a is divided into N parallel strips, each of width x and
produces a wave of the same amplitude E
0
at P.
The phase difference between two waves arriving at point P from two points
on the slit (with separation x) is,

= sin x
2
BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 MIT- MANIPAL
18
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
Phasor showing
a) Central maximum( = 0)
b) A direction slightly shifted from
central maximum
c) First minimum
d) First maximum beyond the
central maximum
(corresponds to N = 18)
BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 MIT- MANIPAL
Some Phasor representations
19
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
2
where
sin
E E , Or
2
sin
2
E
E
Combining,
R
E
Also
2
sin R 2 E
diagram, From
m
m
m

=
=

MIT- MANIPAL
20
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
3,..... 2, 1, m where m
0 sin minima, for eqn., above the From
intensity max. the is where
sin

sin
E intensity The
2
m
2
m
2
2
m
2
= =
=

|

\
|
=
|

\
|
=

m
E
E
MIT- MANIPAL
21
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
is the phase difference between rays
fromthe top and bottomof the slit.
So we can write,

sin
2
So,
sin
2
a
a
= =
=
BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 MIT- MANIPAL
Since = m =
a sin = m

sin
a
22
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
The intensity distribution in single-slit
diffraction for three different values of
the ratio a/
MIT- MANIPAL
NOTE: The wider the slit, the
narrower is the central diffraction
peak
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 23
Problem: SP42-3
Calculate, approximately, the relative intensities of the
maxima in the single slit Fraunhofer diffraction pattern.
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
2
m
sin

|

\
|
=

Where = (m+
1
/
2
)
Ans: 0.045 (m=1), 0.016 (m=2), 0.0083(m=3) etc.
Hint:
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 24
Problem: SP42-4
Find the width of the central maximum in a single slit
Fraunhofer diffraction. The width can be represented as the
angle between the two points in the pattern where the
intensity is one-half that at the center of the pattern.
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
Hint: I

=
1
/
2
I
m
Use iterative technique for finding
Ans: = 1.39156, then =5.1 degree. So, = 10.2 degree
2
m
sin

|

\
|
=

## MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 25

Problem: E42-11
Monochromatic light with wavelength 538 nm falls on a slit with width
25.2m. The distance from the slit to a screen is 3.48m. Consider a point
on the screen 1.13cmfromthe central maximum. Calculate (a) (b) (c)
ratio of the intensity at this point to the intensity at the central
maximum.
INTENSITY IN SINGLE SLIT DIFFRACTION
Ans: = 0.00325 = 0.186
0

/I
m
= 0.926
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 26
1. Discuss qualitatively diffraction at a circular aperture. 
2. Explain Rayleighs criterion for resolving images due to a
circular aperture. 
27
DIFFRACTION AT A CIRCULAR APERTURE
DIFFRACTION PATTERN DUE TO A CIRCULAR APERTURE
Note: Diffraction effects often limit the ability of telescopes and other optical
instruments to form precise images
28
DIFFRACTION AT A CIRCULAR APERTURE
The mathematical analysis of diffraction by a circular aperture shows that the
first minimumoccurs at an angle fromthe central axis given by
aperture. of diameter the is d where
22 . 1 sin
d

=
slit width the is a where sin
is n diffractio slit single in minimum first for equation The
a

=
NOTE: In case of circular aperture, the factor 1.22 arises when we divide the
aperture into elementary Huygens sources and integrate over the aperture.
29
Rayleighs criterion for optical resolution: The images of two closely
spaced sources is said to be just resolved if the angular separation of the two
point sources is such that the central maximum of the diffraction pattern of one
source falls on the first minimumof the diffraction pattern of the other.
d
is
d
R

22 . 1
as d appoximate be can it small, very since
22 . 1 sin
R
R
1
=
|

\
|
=

R
is the smallest angular
separation for which we
can resolve the images of
two objects.
a. Well resolved
b. Just resolved
c. Not resolved
MIT- MANIPAL 30
Problem: SP42-5
A converging lens 32mm in diameter has a focal length f of 24
cm. (a) What angular separation must two distant point objects have to
satisfy Rayleighs criterion? Assume that = 550nm. (b) How far apart are
the centers of the diffraction patterns in the focal plane of the lens?
DIFFRACTION AT A CIRCULAR APERTURE
Ans: 2.1 x 10
-5
MIT- MANIPAL 31
Problem: E42-21
The painting contains small dots (2 mm in diameter)
of pure pigment, as indicated in figure. The illusion of
colour mixing occurs because the pupils of the
observers eyes diffract light entering them. Calculate
the minimum distance an observer must stand from
painting to achieve the desired blending of colour.
(wavelength = 475nm, diameter of pupil = 4.4mm)
DIFFRACTION AT A CIRCULAR APERTURE
Ans: 1.32 x 10
-4
The two head lights of an approaching automobile are 1.42 mapart . At what
A) angular separation and
B) maximumdistance will the eye resolve them?
Assume a pupil diameter of 5 mm and a wavelength of 562 nm. Also assume that
the diffraction effects alone limit the resolution.
Solution: Given data ;
Pupil diameter, a = 5 mm, Wavelength, = 562 nm,
Head lights distance, y = 1.42 m Angular separation, = ?
Resolving D =?
A. Angular separation required for the resolution is

R
= (1.22/a)
=1.37 x 10
-4
B.
R
= y/D
=1.42/D =1.37x10
-4
D=1.04 X 10
4
m
Problem: E42.15
Problem:E42.19
If superman really had X-ray vision at 0.12nm wavelength and
a 4.3mm pupil diameter, at what maximum altitude could be
distinguish villains from heroes assuming the minimum detail
required was 4.8cm?
Solution: Given data ;
Pupil diameter, a = 4.3 mm, Wavelength, = 0.12 nm,
Distance, y = 4.8c m
Resolving D =?
Angular separation required for the resolution is

R
= (1.22/a) = y/D
D= {(4.8x10
-2
m)(4.3x10
-3
m)}/{1.22(0.12x10
-9
m)}
D= 1.4x10
6
m
33
Diffraction in double slit interference?
We neglected the diffraction effects during the discussion of double slit
interference. Why?
Does the effect of diffraction on double slit interference depends on the
slit width a ?
We assumed a < << < < << <
Note that , for such narrow slits, the central part of the screen on which
light falls is uniformly illuminated by the diffracted waves from each slit.
When such waves interfere, they produce interference fringes of uniform
intensity.
MIT- MANIPAL 34
The intensity distribution in single slit diffraction for three
different values of a
MIT- MANIPAL 35
36
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
Note: Here, Fringe width depends on d not a
But, intensity variation?
37
Fig: Interference fringes for a double slit with slit seperation d=50. Three
different slit widths are shown
38
Interference
Diffraction
Interference + Diffraction
( ) c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
2 22 2
INT m, INT ,
I I =

2
(

s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n

D
I
F
D
I
F
D
I
F
D
I
F
m
,
m
,
m
,
m
,
DIF ,
I
( )
2
2
(

s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n

c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s

m mm m
I
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
MIT- MANIPAL
Where = dsin /
Where = asin /
39
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
Each of the two slits is divided into N zones. Electric field at P is found by adding
the phasors. There is phase difference of = /N between each of the N phasors
where is the phase difference between 1
st
phasor and N
th
phasor.
MIT- MANIPAL
40
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
Adding all the phasors, we get the resultant E
1
due to the first slit. is the phase
difference between the light waves at the point P, emitted from bottom edge of the
first slit and top edge of the second slit. E
2
is the resultant due to the second slit. E

is
the resultant of E
1
and E
2
.
41

=
+

\
|
+
=
|

\
|
+

+ =
= +

+ +

is which sin d
2
, get we , eqn above of sides both to sin
a
2
sin ) a d (
2
and
) A .........(
2
cos
2 2
sin
2
sin Also
) ( or
2 2
where
2
sin E 2 E
, figure the From
1
42
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
2
2
m
m 1
m 1
sin
) (cos
cos
sin
) E 2 ( E , ie
2
sin E 2 E
sin
E E
, slit one to due P at amplitude electric the
, have we , n diffractio slit gle sin From
cos
2
sin
, get we ), A ( eqn in this ng Substituti
|

\
|

\
|

=
|

\
|

SINGLE-SLIT DIFFRACTION
PATTERN
DOUBLE-SLIT
INTERFERENCE PATTERN
MIT- MANIPAL 43
Problem: SP42- 6
DOUBLE-SLIT INTERFERENCE AND DIFFRACTION COMBINED
In a double slit experiment, the distance D of the screen
from the slits is 52cm, the wavelength is 480nm, slit
separation d is 0.12mmand the slit width a is 0.025mm.
a) What is the spacing between adjacent fringes?
b) What is the distance from the central maximum to the
first minimumof the fringe envelope?
Ans: 2.1 mm, 10mm
MIT- MANIPAL 44
Problem: SP42- 7
What requirements must be met for the central maximum
of the envelope of the double-slit interference pattern to
contain exactly 11 fringes?
Hint: condition required is 6
th
minimum of the interference should coincide
with the first minimumof the diffraction
Ans: d/a = 11/2
MIT- MANIPAL 45
Problem 42-E26
(a) Design a double slit system in which the fourth fringe, not
counting the central maximum, is missing.
(b) What other fringes , if any, are also missing?
Ans: (a). If d = 4a there will be no fourth interference maximum!
(b) m
i
= 4m
d
MIT- MANIPAL 46
Problem: E42-29
(a) How many complete fringes appear between the first
minima of the fringe envelope on either side of the central
maximum for a double-slit pattern if = 557 nm, d = 0.150
mm, and a = 0.030 mm?
(b) What is the ratio of the intensity of the third fringe to the
side of the center to that of the central fringe?
Ans: 9, 0.255
MIT- MANIPAL 47
MULTIPLE SLITS
Thomas Young used his double slit interference technique for the first
measurement of wavelength of light.
But, Accuracy of measurement depends on accurate determination of
the location of the fringes.
As we increase the number of slits, the bright fringes continue to
become narrower, and the precision of wavelength measurement
continues to improve.
Sharpness of fringes depends on the number of slits in the grating!
48 MIT- MANIPAL
Intensity pattern for (a) Two-slit (b) Five-slit grating
(diffraction effect is neglected)
MULTIPLE SLITS
49
Condition for principal maxima,
d sin = m
where d is the separation between
Location of principal maxima is
independent of number of slits.
Note that if light passing through
any pair of adjacent slits is in phase
at a particular point on the screen,
then light passing through any pair
of slits, even non adjacent ones, is
also in phase at that point.
MULTIPLE SLITS
50
Width of the maxima: Case 1: Central maximum
(Proving of sharpening of the principal maxima as N increased)
The pattern contains central maximumwith minima on either side.
At the location of central maximum, the phase difference between the
waves fromthe adjacent slits is zero.
At minima, the phase difference is such that,
slits of number the is N where
2
N

=
Corresponding path difference is,
N 2
L

=
|

\
|

=
51
Also we know,
N 2
L

=
|

\
|

=
Nd
Nd
sin
sin d
N
sin d L
0
0
0
0

=
=

=
From the equation, we can infer that, for given and
d, if we increase the number of slits (N), then the
angular width of principal maximumdecreases. ie, the
principal maximumbecomes sharper.
52
Width of the maxima: Other principal maxima
For the m
th
principal maximum at
by a grating: d sin = m .
For the first minimum at +
after the m
th
principal maximum,
( )
N NN N

m mm m s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
d dd d + = +
MINIMUM AT
+
m
th
PRINCIPAL
MAXIMUM AT
MULTIPLE SLITS
MINIMUM AT
+
m
th
PRINCIPAL
MAXIMUM AT
53
( )
N NN N

m mm m s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
s
i
n
d dd d + = +
N
m sin cos cos sin d
1

+ =
(
(

3 2 1 3 2 1
( ) N m cos d sin d + = +
3 2 1
}
( ) N m d m + = + cos

=
cos d N
The principal maximum become sharper as
number of slits (N) increases
ANGULAR HALF WIDTH OF m
TH
PRINCIPAL MAXIMUM AT
Width of the maxima: Other principal maxima
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 54
Problem: SP43- 1
MULTIPLE SLITS
A certain grating has 10
4
slits with a spacing of d = 2100 nm.
It is illuminated with yellow sodium light ( = 589 nm). Find
(a) the angular position of all principal maxima observed
and (b) the angular width of the largest order maximum.
Ans: 16.3
0
(m=1), 34.1
0
(m=2), 57.3
0
(m=3) [total 7 principal maxima]
= 5.2 x 10
-5
0
MIT- MANIPAL 55
Discuss qualitatively the diffraction due to multiple slits (eg,
5 slits). 
Obtain an expression for the width of the central maximum
in diffraction pattern due to multiple slits. 
Obtain an expression for the width of a principal maximum
at an angle in diffraction pattern due to multiple slits. 
MIT- MANIPAL 56
Problem: E43-5
Light of wavelength 600 nm is incident normally on a
diffraction grating. Two adjacent principal maxima occur at
sin = 0.20 and sin = 0.30. The fourth order is missing. (a)
what is the separation between adjacent slits? (b) What is the
smallest possible individual slit width? (c) Name all orders
actually appearing on the screen with the values derived in
(a) and (b).
Ans: 6m, 1.5 m
C) The visible orders would be integer values of mexcept for when mis
multiple of four( m=1,2,3, 5,6,7, 9,.)
MIT- MANIPAL 57
Problem: E43- 3
With light froma gaseous discharge tube incident normally on a
grating with a distance 1.73 mbetween adjacent slit centers, a
green line appears with sharp maxima at measured
transmission angles = 17.6, 37.3, -37.1, 65.2 and -65.0.
Compute wavelength of the green line that best fits the data.
Solution:
m sin m sin
1 17.6 0.302 -1 -17.6 -0.302
2 37.3 0.606 -2 -37.1 -0.603
3 65.2 0.908 -3 -65.0 -0.906
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 58
Ans: slope= sin /m = /d
So, = 522 nm.
59
DIFFRACTION GRATINGS
The diffraction grating, a useful device for
analyzing light sources, consists of a large number
of equally spaced parallel slits.
A transmission grating can be made by cutting
parallel grooves on a glass plate with a precision
ruling machine. The spaces between the grooves
are transparent to the light and hence act as
separate slits.
A reflection grating can be made by cutting
parallel grooves on the surface of a reflective
material. The reflection of light from the spaces
between the grooves is specular, and the reflection
from the grooves cut into the material is diffuse.
MIT- MANIPAL
61 MIT- MANIPAL
DIFFRACTION GRATINGS
Sample spectra of visible light emitted by a gaseous source
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 62
DIFFRACTION GRATINGS
Problem: SP43-2
A diffraction grating has 10
4
rulings uniformly spaced
over 25.0mm. It is illuminated at normal incidence by
yellow light fromsodiumvapor lamp which contains two
closely spaced lines of wavelengths 589.0nm and
589.59nm. (a) At what angle will the first order
maximum occur for the first of these wavelengths? (b)
What is the angular separation between the first order
maxima of these lines?
Ans: 13.6
0
, 0.014
0
MIT- MANIPAL 63
Problem: E43-9
Given a grating with 400 rulings/mm, how many orders of
the entire visible spectrum (400-700nm) can be produced?
Solution: d= 1mm/400
To find the number of orders of the entire visible spectrum that will be
present, we need only consider the wavelength which will be on the outside
of the maxima. That will be the longer wavelengths, so we only need to look
at the 700 nm behaviour.
Use d sin = m, assume maximum angle 90
0
Ans: m=3
MIT- MANIPAL 64
Problem: E43-11
White light (400 nm < < 700 nm) is incident on a grating .
Show that, no matter what the value of the grating spacing d,
the second- and third-order spectra overlap.
Solution: If the second-order spectra overlaps the third-order, it is because
the 700 nm second-order line is at a larger angle than the 400 nm third-order
line.
Using dsin = m, sin = m/d
(2 x 700)/d > (3x400)/d
sin
2
,
700nm
> sin
3
,
400nm
MIT- MANIPAL 65
Obtain an expression for dispersion by a diffraction grating.
Obtain an expression for resolving power of a diffraction
grating. 
66
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
lines spectral of wavelength between Difference
lines spectral between separation Angular
Dispersion =

D DD D =
The ability of a grating to produce spectra that permit precise measurement of
wavelengths is determined by two intrinsic properties of the grating,
(1) Dispersion (the separation b/w spectral lines that differ in wavelength )
(2) Resolving power (the width or sharpness of lines)
Dispersion is useful quantity in distinguishing wavelengths that are close to each
other, a grating must spread apart the diffraction lines associated with the various
wavelengths.
MIT- MANIPAL
Dispersion
67
Dispersion
d sin = m
Differentiating the above equation,
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
d dd d
m mm m

= = D
So, To achieve higher dispersion we must use a grating of smaller
grating spacing and work in higher order m.

D DD D =
MIT- MANIPAL
d cos = m
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
68
Ability of the grating to resolve two nearby spectral lines so that
the two lines can be viewed or photographed as separate lines.
To resolve lines whose wavelengths are close together, the lines
should be as narrow as possible.
For two close spectral lines of wavelength
1
and
2
, just
resolved by the grating, the resolving power is defined as

= R
2 1
=
2
2 1
+
=
MIT- MANIPAL
Resolving power
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
Note: is the smallest wavelength difference that is just resolved
69
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
d dd d
m mm m

= = D

=
cos d N

=

|
|

\
|

cos d
m
cos d N
m N R =

=
Resolving power increases with increasing N
We have,
Putting second equation in first equation,
Resolving power
70 MIT- MANIPAL
Intensity patterns of two close
lines due to three gratings A, B, C.
N = 5000
d = 10 m
R = 5000
N = 5000
d = 5 m
R = 5000
N = 10000
d = 10 m
R = 10000
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
71
A grating has 9600 lines uniformly spaced over a width
3cmand is illuminated by mercury light.
a) What is the expected dispersion in the third order, in
the vicinity of intense green line ( = 546nm)?
b) What is the resolving power of this grating in the
fifth order?
Soln: d = W/N = 3125nm, use dsin = m and
=31.6
0
, 1.13 x 10
-3
4
MIT- MANIPAL
Problem: SP43-3
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
c
o
s
d dd d
m mm m

= = D
72
A diffraction grating has 1.20 X 10
4
rulings uniformly spaced
over a width W = 2.50cm. It is illuminated at normal incidence
by yellow light from a sodium vapor lamp. This light contains
two closely spaced lines of wavelengths 589.0 nm and 589.59
nm. (a) At what angle does the first maximum occur for the first
of these wavelengths? (b) What is the angular separation
between these two lines (1
st
order)? (c) How close in
wavelength can two lines be (in first order) and still be resolved
by this grating? (d) How many rulings can a grating have and just
resolve the sodiumdoublet line?
Ans: 16.4
0
, 2.95 x 10
-4
4
, 0.049nm, R= 998, N = 998
MIT- MANIPAL
Problem: SP43-4
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
73
The sodiumdoublet in the spectrumof sodiumis a pair of
lines with wavelengths 589.0 and 589.6 nm. Calculate the
minimum number of rulings in a grating needed to
resolve this doublet in the second-order spectrum.
Soltn:
N 500
MIT- MANIPAL
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
Problem: E43-17
74
In a particular grating, the sodiumdoublet is viewed in third
order at 10.2 to the normal and is barely resolved. Find (a)
the ruling spacing and (b) the total width of grating.
Soltn: use dsin = m , Assume =589nm, find d
d= 9.98 m.
Assume R=1000 = Nm, N=333. So, 333(9.98m) = 3.3 mm.
MIT- MANIPAL
DISPERSION AND RESOLVING POWER
Problem: E43-21
Wilhelm Roentgen
WilhelmRoentgen
German physicist WilhelmRoentgen won
the 1901 Nobel Prize in physics.
Roentgen, who was the first Nobel
laureate in physics, won the award for
his discovery of a type of short-wave
radiation popularly known as X rays
X-rays are electromagnetic radiations of very short wavelength
ranging from0.1 (0.01 nm) to 100 (10 nm).
X-rays can be produced when kinetic energy of fast moving
electrons is transformed into energy of electromagnetic waves.
78
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
For the observation of diffraction phenomenon by grating, the
grating space should have the dimension of the wavelength of
the wave diffracted. (ie., d )
Since the x-ray wavelength and the inter-planar spacing in
crystals are of the same order, a crystal can be a suitable grating
for observing the diffraction of x-rays.
x-ray diffraction producing
Laues pattern
X-ray tube
79
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
When a x-ray beam is incident on a sample of a
single crystal, diffraction occurs resulting in a
pattern consisting of an array of symmetrically
arranged diffraction spots, called Laues spots.
The single crystal acts like a grating with a grating
constant comparable with the wavelength of x-rays,
making the diffraction pattern distinctly visible.
Since the diffraction pattern is decided by the
crystal structure, the study of the diffraction
pattern helps in the analysis of the crystal
parameters.
A Laue pattern of a
single crystal.
Each dot represents a
point of constructive
interference.
80
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
NaCl crystal (a
0
=0.563nm)
A plane through a crystal of NaCl
Unit Cell: Smallest unit from which the
crystal may be built up by repetition in 3
dimensions
Sir William Henry Bragg
British physicist Sir
William Henry Bragg
won the Nobel Prize
in physics in 1915.
He developed X-ray
crystallography which
was used to study
crystal structure.
82 MIT- MANIPAL
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
Bragg planes
In every crystal, several sets of parallel planes called the Bragg planes can
be identified.
Each of these planes have an identical and a definite arrangement of
atoms.
Different sets of Bragg planes are oriented at different angles and are
characterized by different inter planar distances d.
In this given case,
5
0
a
d =
83 MIT- MANIPAL
Glancing angle. ie., angle
between the incident x-ray beam
and the reflecting crystal planes.
For constructive interference
of diffracted x-rays the path
difference for the rays from
the figure) must be an integral
number of wavelength.
ie.,
2d sin = n
MIT- MANIPAL 84
Here, The total path difference = 2dsin
So, for constructive interference, 2d sin = n
85
Note :
The directions(but not the intensities) of all the diffracted x-ray beams
that can emerge from a crystal is determined by the geometry of three
dimensional lattice of diffracting centers.
The intensities of the diffracted beams emerging from a crystal depend
on the diffracting characteristics of the unit cell.
The diffracting characteristics of a unit cell depend on how the
electrons are distributed throughout the volume of the cell
So,
By studying the directions of diffracted x-ray beams, we can learn the
basic symmetry of the crystal.
By studying the intensities we can learn how the electrons are
distributed in a unit cell.
86
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
(a) Electron density contour of an organic molecule
(b) A structural representation of same molecule
The x-rays are diffracted by the electron concentrations in the
material. By studying the directions of diffracted x-ray beam,
we can study the basic symmetry of the crystal.
By studying the intensity, we can learn how the electrons are
distributed in a unit cell.
87
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
Problem: SP43-5
At what angles must an x-ray
beam with wavelength = 0.110
nm fall on the family of planes
in figure if a diffracted beam is
to exist? Assume material to
be sodium chloride (a
0
=
0.563nm)
Soltn: 2d sin = n
and
Ans: 12.6
0
(n=1), 25.9
0
(n=2),
40.9
0
(n=3) and 60.8
0
(n=4)
5
0
a
d =
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 88
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
Problem: E43-25
A beam of x-rays of wavelength 29.3 pm is incident on a
calcite crystal of lattice spacing 0.313 nm. Find the smallest
angle between the crystal planes and the beam that will
result in constructive reflection of the x-rays.
Soltn: We are looking for the smallest angle; this will correspond to the
largest d and the smallest m.
That means m = 1 and d = 0.313 nm.
Ans: 2.68
0
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 89
X-RAY DIFFRACTION
Problem: E43-33
First order Bragg scattering
from a certain crystal occurs
at an angle of incidence of
63.8, (ref. figure).
Wavelength of x-rays is
0.261nm. Assuming that the
scattering is from the dashed
planes, find unit cell size a
0
.
Soltn: a
0
= 2d, = 63.8
0
- 45
0
d= 0.4049nm, a
0
= 0.5726nm
MIT- MANIPAL 90
QUESTIONS DIFFRACTION
Discuss the diffraction due to single-slit. Obtain the
locations of the minima and maxima qualitatively. 
Obtain an expression for the intensity in single-slit
diffraction pattern, using phasor-diagram. 
Calculate, approximately, the relative intensities of the first
three secondary maxima in the single-slit diffraction
pattern. 
Discuss qualitatively diffraction at a circular aperture. 
MIT- MANIPAL 91
QUESTIONS DIFFRACTION
Explain Rayleighs criterion for resolving images due to a
circular aperture. 
Obtain an expression for the intensity in double-slit
diffraction pattern, using phasor-diagram. 
Discuss qualitatively the diffraction due to multiple slits
(eg, 5 slits). 
Obtain an expression for the width of the central
maximum in diffraction pattern due to multiple slits. 
MIT- MANIPAL 92
QUESTIONS DIFFRACTION
Obtain an expression for the width of a principal
maximum at an angle in diffraction pattern due to
multiple slits. 
Obtain an expression for dispersion by a diffraction
grating. 
Obtain an expression for resolving power of a diffraction
grating. 
Discuss Braggs law for X-ray diffraction. 
MIT- MANIPAL BE-PHYSICS-DIFFRACTION-2010-11 93
E42-1: 690 nm
E42-16: 36.2 m
E42-19: 1400 km
E42-21: 15 m
E42-26: (a) d =4a (b) Every 4
th
fringe
E42-29: (a) 9 (b) 0.255
E43-3: 523 nm
E43-5: (a) 6 m (b) 1.5 m (c) m = 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9
E43-9: 3
E43-17: 491
E43-21: (a) 9.98 m (b) 3.27 nm
E43-25: 2.68 degree
E43-33: 0.5726 nm