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# Chapter 35

## 35.1 Interference and Coherent Sources

Interference

Interference of Light: Interference of light occurs when two light waves, travelling through a medium meet up. This causes redistribution of energy, at some points it becomes maximum (Constructive interference) and at some points it becomes minimum (destructive interference). Examples of Interference of light: Youngs double slit experiment, colours in thin films, colours in soap bubbles. Interference can be explained with the help of Principle of Superposition of waves.

Principle of Superposition of waves: When two or more waves overlap, the resultant displacement at any point at any instant is the sum of the instantaneous displacements that would be produced at the point by the individual wave if each were present alone.

Constructive and Destructive Interference (Fig. 35.1): S1 and S2 are two identical and monochromatic sources. Waves produced have same amplitude, wavelength, frequency and state of polarization. Two sources are coherent, means that waves produced should have constant or no phase difference between them. Point a is equidistant from S1 and S2 and waves from the two sources require equal time to reach a. At a they will be in phase. The total amplitude at a is twice the amplitude of individual wave. The distance of S2 from point ( ) is two wavelengths greater than the distance of S1 from point ( ). Thus, again two waves arrive in phase at b and the total amplitude at b is twice the amplitude of individual wave. When waves from 2 or more sources arrive at a point in phase, the amplitude of the resultant wave is the sum of amplitudes of individual wave. This is called CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE. For CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE, the following should hold good: (Eq. 35.1) For DESTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE, following should hold good: (Eq. 35.2)

Figure 35.1

Figure 35.2

## Youngs double slit experiment

The geometry of Youngs double slit experiment (Fig. 35.2) can be described as follows: d distance between slits (sources) S1 and S2 R the distance between slits and screen Refer to Fig. 35.2b, At point P on the screen, path difference is given by: (Eq. 35.3) where, is the angle between a line from the slit to screen and a normal to the plane of slits (Fig 35.2c). For CONSTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: (Eq. 35.4) For DESTRUCTIVE INTERFERENCE: 3

(Eq. 35.5) The pattern on screen is a succession of bright and dark bands called INTERFERENCE FRINGES, parallel to S1 and S2. To find the position of centre of mth bright fringe, let is the distance from the centre of th pattern to the centre of m bright fringe and be the corresponding angle.

Since

, thus

is small

, then

Combining the above equation with Eq. (35.4), we get (Eq. 35.6)

Example 1: In a two slit interference experiment, the slits are 0.2 mm apart, and the screen is at a distance of 1.0 m. The third bright fringe is found to be displaced 7.5 mm from the central bright fringe. Find the wavelength of the light used. Assume that central fringe is not used in counting. Ans: 500 nm

Example 2: A radio station operating at a frequency of Hz has two identical vertical dipole antennas spaced 400 m, oscillating in phase. At distances much greater than 400 m, in what directions is the intensity greatest in the resulting radiation pattern? Ans:

35.3

## The intensity of light due to a single source:

(Eq. 35.7) Combine two sinusoidally varying fields at the point P in the radiation pattern, taking proper account of the phase difference of the two waves at P which results from the path difference. Intensity is proportional to the square of resultant electric field amplitude. Assume that the two waves have same amplitude . If the phase angle between two waves arriving at P is , then we can write following equations for the superimposing electric fields.

Drawing these two in the phasor diagram and using the knowledge of vector algebra to find the magnitude of resultant amplitude as the vector sum of the two amplitudes. Hint: Resolving the vectors in x- and y-components will help.

## Figure 35.3 Using cosine rule, Using the trigonometric identity:

Phasor diagram

(Eq. 35.8)

Question: What is when two waves are in phase? Ans: When two waves are in phase: Question: What is when two waves are exactly half cycle out of phase?

Ans: When two waves are exactly half cycle out of phase: 5

Question: Find the intensity at point P. Using Eq. (35.7) and Eq. (35.8),

## Hence, the intensity in two-source interference pattern is (Eq. 35.9)

Phase Difference and Path Difference: When path difference is , phase difference is . When path difference is , phase difference is . Thus, path difference of is related to phase difference of

where

## is defined as wave number

Relationship between path difference and phase difference in both types of interference: Type of interference Constructive Destructive Question: For the condition , find the expression of intensity at point P in terms of angle . Path difference, ( Phase difference, Value of m Integers

## From Eq. (35.9),

Example 3 A radio station operating at a frequency of Hz has two identical vertical dipole antennas spaced 10 m, oscillating in phase. The intensity at a distance of 700 m in the direction corresponding to is 0.02 W/m2. (i) (ii) (iii) What is the intensity in the direction ? In what direction near is the intensity 0.01 W/m2? In what direction is the intensity 0? , (ii) , (iii) or

Ans: (i)

## 35.4 Interference in Thin Films

Example: Bright bands of colour when light reflects from a soap bubble or from a thin layer of oil floating on water. Consider a monochromatic light source incident on a thin film (Fig. 35.4), the light rays are reflected from upper and bottom surfaces of the film. The two light rays (path abc and path abdef) undergo interference as they reach the eyes. The path difference between ray abc and ray abdef will be path bde. If the light ray is incident normally on the film, then the path difference will be , where t is the thickness of the film. In our discussion of thin film interference, we will consider the light approaches the film at normal incidence unless otherwise stated.

Figure 35.4

## Thin Film Interference

Note: With respect to the direction of incident ray, if the first medium is denser than the second medium, there is no phase reversal for the reflected ray. If the first medium is less dense than the second medium, there is phase reversal for the reflected ray. Let be the refractive index of first medium,
Condition

## Phase change at reflection Phase change of No phase change

The path difference condition for constructive and destructive interference can be summarized as follows:
Condition Phase change at reflection Phase change of Constructive interference Destructive interference

Value of m Integers

No phase change

Note: is the wavelength of light in the medium of thin film and wavelength changes with medium.

Non-Reflective coatings: A thin layer of film of hard transparent material with refractive index smaller than that of the glass is deposited on glass. 8

Light is reflected from both surfaces of film. Due to reflection from a medium of higher refractive index for both light rays, phase change due to reflection is the same for both of them. If film thickness is , the path difference between the rays will be for near-normal incidence. This is condition of destructive interference, so intensity of light is very low for . Thus, in the case of white light, condition of minima is satisfied for only one colour and the choice is normally green. There is no light due to green but there is light due to red and blue, and the reflected light has a purple hue. By this method, the overall reflection from a lens or prism surface can be reduced from 4-5% to < 1%.

Figure 35.5

Non-reflective coatings

Reflective coatings: A thin layer of film of hard transparent material with refractive index greater than that of the glass and thickness is deposited on glass. This increases reflectivity and the coating is known as reflective coating. Light is reflected from both surfaces of film. There is phase reversal in the light ray reflected at air-film interface and no phase reversal in the light reflected at film-glass interface. This causes a path difference of between two rays. If the film thickness is , the additional path difference between the rays will be for near-normal incidence. Total path difference becomes , i.e. . This is the condition of constructive interference, so the intensity of light is maximum for . 9

Example 4 A plastic film with index of refraction 1.85 put on the surface of a car window to increase the reflectivity and thus to keep the interior of the car cooler. The window glass has index of 1.52. (a) What is the minimum thickness required if the light with wavelength 550 nm in air reflected from the two sides of the film is to interfere constructively? (b) It is found to be difficult to manufacture and install coatings as thin as calculated in part (a). What is the next greatest thickness for which there will also be constructive interference? Ans: (a) 74.3 nm; (b) 223 nm

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