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Ripple Tank: Single and Double Slit Diffraction and Interference

A ripple tank is placed above a mirror and a projection screen. A horizontal bar, whose frequency can be varied, taps the surface of the water and produces plane waves. The waves are incident on a barrier containing an adjustable opening.

With a narrow single slit opening we see a plane wave emerge as a spherical wave on the other side of the barrier. This can be explained by the Huygens-Fresnel principle which states that each point in the slit forms its own spherical wavefront source. With a wider slit, more point sources arise, causing interference patterns due to the larger angles involved with a broader spatial distribution of these sources.

Comments (2)

how does it do that

Posted over 4 years by Anonymous 00:00:24

This thing is cool, I wanna make one.

Posted 4 years by Anonymous 00:01:47

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MIT Department of Physics Technical Services Group

MIT Department of Physics Technical Services Group

Category: Science | Updated over 6 years ago

Created
July 22, 2009 11:09
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