# Double slit experiment collimating lens?

In some appratus for the Young's double slit experiment a collimating lens is used infront of the double slits, meaning plane wavefronts hit the double slits. But why do we need/want plane wavefronts hitting the slit in the first place, won't spherical wavefronts work just as well? Also if we did not have plane wavefronts would we still get Fraunhofer diffraction (I assume we will since we will still be viewing the image in the image plane).

## 4 Answers

It depends on the coherence length of the light source. If the wavefronts are curved, and it's difficult to ensure that light generated at the same time is impinging on the slits at the same time -- you need a relatively precise alignment in both the centre of the lens and the angle.

If you collimate a beam, the wavefronts are planar, so it's less sensitive to a movement of the centre of the lens.

Plane wavefronts ensure that the field at the apertures are in phase and coherent and thus the interference pattern is produced (see Fig.1).

Non planar input to an aperture equals a case where the point oscillators at the apertures are not in phase and depending on the coherence length of the incoming field, might not be coherent (see Fig.1). Thus, the interference pattern will change, position will shift and visibility will decrease.

Read for example

Lasse-Petteri Leppänen et. al., New J. Phys. 16 113059, (2014)

Does a spherical wave-front, as you describe it, require at minimum 2 spherical bursts from a single atom? If spherical wave-fronts form as energy bursts that are independent in nature, with time greater than 0 (t>0) between each burst, and each burst being equal in energy, then in order to adhere to E=hv, might determining the frequency and energy of a photon be simply number of bursts equals total energy per unit time, and frequency determined by the gap between bursts. The reason for the question is that the second burst would allow the photon, if in the visible spectrum as an instance, to be realized, but also create the interference pattern. This perhaps aids in the description of a photon if the above is acceptable. At minimum, a photon exists when a minimum of 2 spherical bursts occur from a reference atom, the distance between bursts determines the frequency, the summation of energy per burst determines E. If acceptable, a photon is simply 2 independent bursts of spherical energy from a single atom.

It depends on the coherence length of the light source. If the wavefronts are curved, and it’s difficult to ensure that light generated at the same time is impinging on the slits at the same time — you need a relatively precise alignment in both the centre of the lens and the angle. If you collimate a beam, the wavefronts are planar, so it’s less sensitive to a movement of the centre of the lens.