IB DP Physics: HL复习笔记9.3.1 Young’s Double-Slit Experiment

Young’s Double-Slit Experiment

  • Young’s double-slit experiment demonstrates how light waves can produce an interference pattern
  • The setup of the experiment is shown below:

Young’s double-slit experiment arrangement

  • When a monochromatic light source is placed behind a single slit, the light is diffracted producing two light sources at the double slits A and B
  • Since both light sources originate from the same primary source, they are coherent and will therefore create an observable interference pattern
    • Both diffracted light from the double slits create an interference pattern made up of bright and dark fringes
  • The distance between the fringes can be calculated using the double-slit equation:


Double slit interference equation with d, s and D represented on a diagram

Investigating Young’s Double-Slits Experimentally

The overall aim of this experiment is to investigate the relationship between the distance between the slits and the screen, D, and the fringe width, s

  • Independent variable = Fringe width, s
  • Dependent variable = Distance between the slits and the screen, D
  • Control variables
    • Laser wavelength, λ
    • Slit separation, d



The setup of apparatus required to measure the fringe width s for different values of D

  1. Set up the apparatus by fixing the laser and the slits to a retort stand and place the screen so that D is 0.5 m, measured using the metre ruler
  2. Darken the room and turn on the laser
  3. Measure from the central fringe across many fringes using the vernier callipers (or ideally, a travelling microscope) and divide by the number of fringe widths to find the fringe width, s
  4. Increase the distance D by 0.1 m and repeat the procedure, increasing it by 0.1 m each time up to around 1.5 m
  5. Repeat the experiment twice more and calculate and record the mean fringe width, s, for each distance D
  • An example table might look like this:


Analysing the Results

  • The fringe spacing equation is given by:


Evaluating the Experiment

Systematic errors:

  • Ensure the use of the set square to avoid parallax error in the measurement of the fringe width
  • The distance between fringes is very small due to the short wavelength of visible light
    • A monochromatic light source must be used so that the fringes easier to observe

Random errors:

  • The fringe spacing can be subjective depending on its intensity on the screen, therefore, take multiple measurements of s (between 3-8) and find the average
  • Use a Vernier scale to record distances s to reduce percentage uncertainty
    • Use a travelling microscope, if available, for the greatest accuracy
  • Reduce the uncertainty in s by measuring across all visible fringes and dividing by the number of fringes
  • Conduct the experiment in a darkened room, so the fringes are clear

Safety Considerations

  • Lasers should be Class 2 and have a maximum output of no more than 1 mW
  • Do not allow laser beams to shine into anyone’s eyes
  • Remove reflective surfaces from the room to ensure no laser light is reflected into anyone’s eyes