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196
votes
7answers
12k views

How does light bend around my finger tip?

When I close one eye and put the tip of my finger near my open eye, it seems as if the light from the background image bends around my finger slightly, warping the image near the edges of my blurry ...
22
votes
8answers
2k views

Why does wavelength affect diffraction?

I have seen many questions of this type but I could nowhere find the answer to "why". I know this is a phenomenon which has been seen and discovered and we know it happens and how it happens. But my ...
19
votes
2answers
653 views

Optimal telescope size?

Consider a diffraction-limited telescope with unobstructed aperture $D$. Such a scope is capable of yielding an angular resolution $\alpha$ that scales as $\lambda/D$, with $\lambda$ denoting the ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Trying to combine red, green and blue to produce white

I tried to mimic the mechanism of typical screens to produce white color out of red, green and blue. What I did is displayed the attached image on the screen, and moved far away as to let the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Amateur moon laser ranging

Questions first, then my rough estimations: 1) Is it possible to perform moon laser ranging with amateur motorized 114mm telescope? My calculations suggest that for 1mJ laser it should receive ~2 ...
8
votes
1answer
314 views

How fat is Feynman’s photon?

According to my calculations, it is a lot skinnier than Airy’s photon, but still a whole lot fatter than a straight line. So, how does a photon get from point A to Point B? The ray optics ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Why does a wave actually diffract?

I know that waves diffract around a slit and this is due to the Huygens-Fresnel principle. But I never understand this in an intuitive wave that why does a wave become a spherical wave front at the ...
7
votes
1answer
679 views

Calculating diffraction patterns using FFT

I'm trying to write a piece of code that calculates a diffraction pattern similar to an X-ray experiment using a FFT. From my knowledge, the diffraction pattern for point particles can be calculated ...
6
votes
1answer
180 views

Will a football (soccer) diffract? [duplicate]

Apparently all objects have wavelike properties, so, if we kick a football (soccer ball, if you must) through a pair of posts, does the ball in any sense diffract? If this is ridiculous then let me ...
6
votes
1answer
186 views

Is Huygen's Principle Axiomatic?

Is Huygens Principle just a fundamental way to understand light? It always seemed to me that it was somehow "derived" or that it should be-but is it simply a well-founded theory?
6
votes
4answers
7k views

How can a single slit diffraction produce an interference pattern?

How can a light passed though a single slit produce a similar interference pattern to the double-slit experiment? How does the diffracted wave produce the points of cancellation and reinforcement, if ...
5
votes
4answers
155 views

Why can't we perfectly focus light-abberations aside

I don't understand why there is necessarily a diffraction limitation on optical systems. Where does this limitation in focusing light come from?
5
votes
2answers
395 views

Why does light diffract only through slits?

We can see diffraction of light if we allow light to pass through a slit, but why doesn't diffraction occur if we obstruct light using some other object, say a block? Why are shadows formed? Why ...
5
votes
3answers
277 views

Is it possible to surpass the diffraction limit for telescopes?

Telescopes have angular diffraction limit depending on the observed wavelength and aperture diameter. I've read that it's possible to go beyond the limit for microscopes. But is it possible to do the ...
5
votes
1answer
645 views

How can the Huygens-Fresnel principle be derived from the Maxwell equations?

The Huygens-Fresnel principle states that every point to which a luminous disturbance reaches becomes a source of a spherical wave. I have been trying to understand this considering a infinite screen ...
5
votes
1answer
197 views

Is diffraction affected by interaction between photons and electrons?

Suppose we take a sheet of ordinary metal, make a narrow slit in it, and shine a light beam through the slit onto a screen. The light beam will diffract from the edges of the slit and spread out onto ...
5
votes
2answers
639 views

What's the physical significance of using fourier transform for diffraction?

I am studying some basic idea of diffraction and there mention in far field, the diffraction pattern could be understood by Fourier transform. But I just don't understand what's the physical fact for ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

Smaller Airy disk with another lens?

Is it possible to reduce the airy disk size produced by one lens with another lens placed after the previous one? For example, parallel ray incident on first lens L1 (without aberration), then there ...
4
votes
3answers
71 views

Why don't fogbows appear on clouds?

As far as I know clouds are lot of small droplets condensed in air. If droplets are large enough we see a rainbow. If they are small we see a fogbow. Although the size of the droplets are big enough ...
4
votes
5answers
297 views

What happens to waves when they hit smaller apertures than their wavelenghts?

I was wondering this for quite a long time now. Let's say you have a water wave (like ripples, not the ones you see during tsunamis) with wavelength 10 m. Imagine you put a boundary with an opening of ...
4
votes
2answers
548 views

Does diffraction occur before interference?

In the double slit experiment, light passes through two slits and the waves interfere and form an interference pattern. A single slit is required for diffraction. So, I was thinking about whether ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does a CD work as a diffraction grating even with light from a light bulb?

I have a really hard time solving the following problem I accidentally came across today. Looking at the back of a usual CD one sees coloured bands. This is explained by the fact that the surface ...
4
votes
2answers
187 views

What are the lines visible between two cards held edge-to-edge?

Hold two cards (say credit cards) edge to edge, anything from a very slight touch to about 1/3 mm separation, in front of any ordinary light source. When I do this I see several fine dark parallel ...
4
votes
2answers
324 views

Inverse Fourier Transform Of K-space Image…what is the object space scale?

Checked around a buch and could not find any help. But I needed help with: Understanding that if I get the Inverse FT of K-space data, what is the scaling on the X-space (object space) resultant ...
4
votes
1answer
353 views

Young's double slit experiment viva question

My professor asked me (in my viva exam), "If, in the Fraunhofer single slit diffraction experiment, if we have 2 slits instead of one (at very short distances), What would happen?" I answered with ...
4
votes
2answers
373 views

Effect of a wavefront deformation on the far-field diffraction pattern of a TEM00

By performing Matlab simulations on a TEM00 mode (approximated by a gaussian intensity profile with a flat wavefront), I got the impression that applying wavefront deformations (such as a single ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

Diffraction pattern when wavelength tends to zero

While studying about Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction, I came across a statement which says that the fringes disappears and the image would take on the limiting shape of the aperture when wavelength ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Is diffraction through an aperture similar to diffraction by a plane of atoms?

I'm asking because I have a problem asking me what the diffraction pattern would be if instead of spherical atoms I'd have triangular atoms. I can't find anything about this in my X-ray diffraction ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Is that a result of thin-film interference?

Several years ago, I was laying on my bed and had a CD shaped transparent plastic disk (which was covering a 100 CD stack), basically a transparent CD. I don't know why but I took my phone and took a ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Difference Between Fraunhofer and Fresnel Diffraction

What is the difference between Fraunhofer diffraction and Fresnel diffraction? I mean diffraction is just bending of light waves or waves in general around a point. So how can there be two types of ...
3
votes
2answers
343 views

X-ray diffraction from Metals

Is X-ray crystallography is possible for metals? Or not due to absorption?
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Covering centeremost slit of a N slit diffraction grating - what happens?

For an N-slit diffraction grating, the distance from a maxima to a minima at order p is given by $$\delta \theta = \frac{\lambda}{Np}$$ What happens to this width when the centremost $\frac{N}{2}$ ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

X-ray diffraction from crystals and time-averaging

To calculate the elastically scattered intensity of x-rays from crystals, one classically considers scattering from a free electron first and then one sums up the scattered em-fields of all electrons ...
3
votes
1answer
509 views

Calculating Fraunhofer diffraction patterns

How does one calculate the Fraunhofer diffraction pattern for the following arrangement of slits: |...|...........|...| ..a.....3a......a (Four slits arranged linearly, spaced a distance a, 3a and ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

Huygen's principle in EM waves

In trying to understand diffraction, I keep coming across Huygen's principle as the why behind diffraction, and I think I understand the principle itself all right. However, I was hoping to find an ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

Diffraction by a lens

The fraunhoffer treatment of circular apertures yields a diffraction pattern of circles, with the first minimum (dark ring) at an angular radius of $\theta$ where $\sin(\theta)=1.22\lambda/b$, where ...
3
votes
2answers
416 views

Diffraction in Electromagnetic Waves

Diffraction can be observed in physical waves very easily, however when it comes to the diffraction of electromagnetic waves in things like the single slit experiment, I become a little confused. In ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Hearing sound around corners

I've been taught that diffraction is the reason why we can hear around corners, since the wavelength of sound is approximately 10 cm (smaller than a door or a window). I wonder how can this be ...
3
votes
1answer
295 views

Planes of graphite crystal on diffraction experiments

When doing electron diffraction on graphite (a popular experiment for students at universities) always diffraction at these two planes with distances $d_1$ and $d_2$ are observed: But a plane ...
3
votes
2answers
201 views

The Bahtinov focusing mask

I'm looking for a webpage or a book or reference that might give me a better (and hopefully more scientific) understanding of how the Bahtinov mask works (which I understand to be the same as ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Can this simple spectrometer be precise without collimation?

Consider the following spectrometer structure: Here the slit can be changed in size, and the lens and detector can be moved closer to or farther from the diffraction grating. I was trying to get ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Why is the Fraunhoffer Pattern the Fourier transform of the slit?

Why is it that the fourier tranform of the slit (with value 1 where it's open?) gives the fraunhoffer diffraction pattern? Why are these two paired?
3
votes
1answer
476 views

Perfect pinhole diffraction pattern with sharp fringes using a 632nm laser

I'm trying to produce a diffraction pattern with pinhole using a laser of 632nm wavelength .The pinholes' diameter are ranging from 10um , 25um , 50 um , 0.1mm and so on . I also have good lenses for ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

How small can diffraction grating be?

Like in title, how small can diffraction grating be? And, of course be "fully operational". I mean, littles diffraction grating possible that still works as full-sized one.
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Describing quantum intereference with only currents and densities

I know about and believe to understand the general wave equation based Kirchhoff diffraction formula, which in the Fraunhofer limit leads to a farfield complex wave function by Fourier transforming ...
3
votes
1answer
399 views

Why is the diffraction pattern for an annular aperture the difference of the two Bessel functions?

Inspired by this question, the pattern for the annular intensity is given by the square of the difference of the two Bessel functions. I would have thought the sum was more appropriate, could someone ...
3
votes
2answers
559 views

White light diffraction

I have a hard time understanding why light waves of different wavelengths diffract in a different manner. According to Huygens' principle, every point on the wavefront is a source of a secondary wave. ...
3
votes
1answer
529 views

Fresnel Diffraction at a circular aperture

In Fresnel Diffraction at a circular aperture the central image according to 'Optics' by brij lal and subramanyam will be bright if odd number of full half-period zones can be ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

computing wavefront deviations for off-axis mirrors

Suppose you have two off-axis aligned mirrors which are nearly planar, with small deformations such that a wavefront at plane $P_I$ at distance $-D$ from the mirrors, is refocused at distance $D$ at ...
3
votes
2answers
282 views

Photons-Wave/particle duality

I know that photons and electrons and such are said to have a wave particle duality, but what does that mean for a photon? When light strikes an object, are many photons emitted, enough to draw ...