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# Physics 73.

1st Semester

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Experiment Date:
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## Prelab: Determination of Grating Constant

1. Does the order of diffraction affect the wavelength of the incident light? Justify

2. What is the mathematical relationship between the slit separation (d) and the
diffraction grating constant (D)?

## Prelab: Determination of Grating Constant

P1

EXPERIMENT
Determination of Grating Constant

Objectives
At the end of the activity, the student should be able to:
compute the wavelength of the incident light from the angular readings of a spectrometer.
determine the grating constant of a diffraction grating.

Introduction
Light spectroscopy is a technique to obtain the spectrum of light emitted by a source
using diffraction gratings. Diffraction gratings are optical elements made up of closely
spaced periodic grooves such that when light passes through it at a normal incidence,
light is bent according to the equation [1]
dsin = m

(1)

where m is the diffraction order, is the light wavelength, d is the slit width (groove
spacing), and is the diffraction angle measured from the grating normal. Diffraction
gratings are usually graded not by their groove spacing, but by their groove density or
grating constant D, which is given by equation [2]
1
(2)
d
Grating constants are usually expressed in lines/mm. In this experiment, we shall learn
to calculate the corresponding wavelength and determine the grating constant of the
dispersing element.
D=

Materials
The following materials are required for the experiment:
Student spectrometer
Mercury lamp
Determination of Grating Constant

Physics 73.1

1st Semester

## Diffraction Grating (100 lines/mm)

Magnifying glass
Desk lamp

Procedure
I. Calibrating the Student Spectrometer
A. Focusing the spectrometer
1. Focus the telescope at infinity by focusing on a distant object (e. g. out the
window).
2. Check that the collimator slit is partially open.
3. Align the telescope directly opposite the collimator.
4. Look through the telescope. Adjust the focus of the collimator until the collimator
slit is in sharp focus.
5. Adjust the collimator slit width. Usually, the collimator slit width is made as small
as possible.
6. Tighten the telescope, then use the fine adjust knob to align the crosshair to one
of the edges of the slit image.
7. Adjust the slit width for a clear, bright image.
8. When the telescope and the collimator are properly aligned and focused, the collimator slit should be sharply focused in the center of the field of view of the
telescope.
B. Aligning the diffraction grating
The diffraction grating must be perpendicular to the optical axis.
1. Place the 100 lines/mm diffraction grating on the spectrometer.
2. Turn on the mercury lamp and place it near the collimator slit. Light exiting the
collimator tube must be incident at the middle of the diffraction grating.
C. Measuring the diffraction angle
Note that the zero degree mark of the Vernier scale is usually not aligned with the optical
axis. This offset must be taken into account when measuring the diffraction angles.
1. Measure the position of the central diffraction line, the direct image, using the
Vernier scale. Note that the light passing through the diffraction grating is diffracted
to the left and to the right of the optical axis. Call the left angle reading as 0CW
and the reading to the right as 0CCW . The magnifying glass may be useful when
Determination of Grating Constant

Physics 73.1

1st Semester

## A.Y. 2016 - 2017

2. Record the readings under the direct image column in Table W1.
3. Rotate the telescope clockwise. Measure the position of the first-order green spectral
line diffracted to the left of the optical axis. We now call this angle CW .
4. Rotate the telescope counter-clockwise. Measure the position of the first order green
spectral line diffracted to the right of the optical axis. We now call this angle CCW .
5. Record the readings under the green column in Table W1.
6. Calculate for |CW 0CW | and |CCW 0CCW |. If |CW 0CW | = |CCW 0CCW | then
the diffraction grating is perpendicular to the optical axis. If the absolute difference
is more than 30, re-align the grating and perform another trial.
7. Record all calculations in Table W1.

## II. Calculating the Wavelength of the Light Source

1. With the Mercury lamp still on, locate and record in Table W2 the angular displacements of each visible bright line in the first order and second order image.
Remember to subtract the direct image angle.
2. Compute the wavelength from the angular displacements of the 1st-order and 2ndorder of colors using equation 1.
3. Calculate for the relative deviation using the table for the theoretical spectrum of
mercury given in Appendix A.
4. Record all calculations in Table W2.

## III. Determination of Grating Constant

1. Calculate for Sin(). Record in Table W2
2. Plot Sin() vs theo for the first and second order in Figures W1 and W2.
3. Use linear regression to obtain the slope of the fitted line. The slope of the fitted
line is the experimental grating constant.
4. Compare with the theoretical value.
5. Record the data in Table W3.

Reference
1. Hugh D. Young, Roger A. Freedman, and A. Lewis Ford. University Physics with
Modern Physics, Chapter 35. Addison Wesley, 12th edition, 2007.

1st Semester

Physics 73.1

## A.Y. 2016 - 2017

Appendix A
Table 1: Spectrum of Mercury (Hg)
Color

Intensity

Wavelength (nm)

Violet

Faint

404.66

Violet

Faint

407.78

Blue Violet

Bright

435.83

Blue Green

Faint

491.6

Green

Bright

546.07

Yellow

Bright

576.96

Yellow

Bright

579.06

Red

Very Faint

671.64

Red

Very Faint

690.54

1st Semester

Physics 73.1
Group Members:

## A.Y. 2016 - 2017

Date Performed:
Date Submitted:

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Data Sheet
A. Calibration of Spectrometer
Table W1: Angular readings of the green line for the 100 lines/mm grating
Trial

Direct Image

Color Line

cw

cw

ccw

ccw

cw

ccw

| cw cw | | ccw ccw |

Absolute Difference
| cw ccw |

1
2
3

## B. Determination of Grating Constant

Table W2: Angular readings of bright lines for the 100 lines/mm grating
First Order

Color

sin

expt

Second Order

sin

expt

Violet

404.66

404.66

Blue Violet

435.83

435.83

Blue Green

491.60

491.60

Green

546.07

546.07

Yellow

579.06

579.06

W1

1st Semester

Physics 73.1

C. Analysis

## Figure W2. Sin() vs theo plot for the 2nd

order diffraction

order diffraction

## Table W3: Calculation of the Grating Constant

Order Dexpt (lines/mm) Dtheo (lines/mm) % Error
1st

100

2nd

100

W2

Physics 73.1

1st Semester

## A.Y. 2016 - 2017

Questions
1. What would happen if the grating is not perpendicular to the incident light? How
would this affect the experimental grating constant? Explain.

2. Where do you expect to observe the third-order green? Did you observe this experimentally? Explain why or why not.

3. Compare the experimental diffraction grating constant obtained for the first order
and second order diffraction.

W3