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Diffraction and Interference

Of Light Waves

By: Ema Condori-Teves

For Mr. Hendricks Honors Physics Class


In this lab the class recreated the same idea of Thomas Youngs double slit experiment
through a method that will produce results that reflect the same conclusion that Thomas Young
reached in his experiment. The tools used in this lab included three different colored lasers
(being red, green, and a blue/purple colored laser), a ruler, and a diffraction grating screen with a
split spacing of 1 micrometer. Using the equation =xd/L the red wavelength should equal
anywhere between 630-680 nanometers, the green laser should produce a wavelength of 532
nanometers, and the blue light should produce a wavelength of 405 nanometers 10 nanometers.


The equation needed in order to be able to do this lab is /d=x/L. This equation needs to
be understood so it will be derived below:

To do this experiment the laser was measured a certain distance from the wall and that distance
will be L. Then the distance measured from the primary or central bright spot and the first
diffracted bright spot is measured and that will be x. The distance (d) will be 10-6 meters.
Since wave length is reported in nanometers, it will need to be converted.

Measuring Wavelengths of Light

The length from the laser to the wall or L was 1.0 meters for all the lasers. The diffraction
grating screen was held directly in front of each laser when its x distance was being measured.
There will be to first diffracted lights, each being of opposite sides of each other. In this lab both
were measured and then averaged to minimize error. It is important to remember that the
equation =xd/L applies only if the angle measures less than 15 degrees. This is because if the
angle is very small then the results calculated will be so very similar whether L (length) is used
or H (hypotenuse) is used. If the angle is bigger than 15 degrees, then the results become
significantly different and H must be used in place of L in the equation in order to produce the
most accurate results.
This is how the wavelength was calculated for the red laser:

This is how the wavelength was calculated for the Green laser:

This is how the wavelength was calculated for the blue/purple laser:


There are many variables that can affect the results that were measured in this lab, some
could include human error when measuring the distance of the central bright spot to the first
diffracted bright spot, also holding the laser at a slight angle can effect whether the first two
diffracted right spots are about even, etc. After researching online, the actual wavelength for the
visible deep red laser should be roughly 700 nm, the green light wavelength should roughly 510
nm, and the blue/purple lights wavelength should roughly measure around 380-450 nm. Below
are the final results.

Red Laser Green Laser Blue/Purple Laser

L 1.0 m 1.0 m 1.0 m

X .73 m .557 m .40 m

730 nm 557 m 400 m

Actual 630-680 nm 532 m 405 m