When discussion diffraction, a typical experiment to use to demonstrate it is the double-slit experiment. For example, in the historical discussion about corpuscular vs wave theories, they cite Thomas Young's experiment as a proof. Why use double-slit when a single slit works? Is there any specific behavior that works with double-slit only?

Another related question is: do electrons show interference pattern if they pass through a single slit? Since they act like a wave, I would assume they do, but then every single book/source I have read about this only considers double-slit, so not sure.

  • $\begingroup$ -1. The double slit experiment illustrates interference. The single slit experiment illustrates diffraction. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Sep 9 '17 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Diffraction is really a generalization of interference as a continuous summation (integral) instead of a discrete summation. Also diffraction in the single-slit experiment should be enough evidence for the wave nature of electrons as well. $\endgroup$ – Tob Ernack Jul 31 '19 at 6:39

Two-source interference is mathematically very easy to analyse. Diffraction from a single slit is less easy, because one has a continuous array of sources.

In an elementary treatment of two SLIT interference one can treat the slits as two point sources at their centres, and therefore not worry about the details of diffraction. It's the sheer simplicity of two source interference which makes this so appealing – from the time of Thomas Young to the present day.

I'm pretty sure that electrons do show single slit diffraction effects, but can't cite specific experiments.

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