Young's Double Slit Interference

Waves can be added together either constructively or destructively. The result of adding two waves of the same frequency depends on the value of the phase of the wave at the point in which the waves are added.
Electromagnetic waves are subject to interference. For two sources of electromagnetic waves to interfere

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Scheme of the experiment



Lamda =

d =

L =

In the double slit experiment, a single source of light is split in two, to generate two coherent sources.

When the light from the two sources is projected on a screen, an interference pattern is observed.

To explain the origin of the interference pattern, consider the distance traveled from the two sources. At the center of the screen the waves from the two sources are in phase. As we move away from the center, the path traveled by the light from one source is larger than that traveled by the light from the other source. When the difference in path is equal to half a wavelength, destructive interference occurs. Instead, when the difference in pathlength is equal to a wavelength, constructive interference occurs.

This animation demonstrates a classic example of interference effects in light waves. Two light rays pass through two slits, separated by a distance d and strike a screen a distance, L, from the slits. You can change these parameters (drag scrollbars to do it) and you see the result of interference on the screen.

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Java plugin is no longer supported by modern browsers. If you are interested in original Java based Interference applet, you can download Class files and run applet locally. Or you can try a Java version of this applet - Interference

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