## WAVE OPTICS

## Huygens’ principle :

**Huygens’**

**principle**tells us that each point on a wavefront is a source of secondary waves, which add up to give the wavefront at a later time.

Huygens’ construction tells us that the new wavefront is the forward envelope of the secondary waves. When the speed of light is independent of direction, the secondary waves are

**spherical**. The rays are then perpendicular to both the wavefronts and the time of travel is the same measured along any ray. This principle leads to the well-known laws of reflection and refraction.## Principle of Superposition :

**The principle of superposition**of waves applies whenever two or more sources of light illuminate the same point. When we consider the intensity of light due to these sources at the given point, there is an interference term in addition to the sum of the individual intensities. But this term is important only if it has a non-zero average, which occurs only if the sources have the same frequency and a stable phase difference.

## Young’s double slit :

**Young’s double slit**of separation d gives equally spaced fringes of angular separation λ/d. The source, mid-point of the slits, and central bright fringe lie in a straight line. An extended source will destroy the fringes if it subtends angle more than λ/d at the slits.

## Superposition Principle:

A single slit of width a gives a diffraction pattern with a central maximum.

The intensity falls to zero at angles of,

with successively weaker secondary maxima in between.

The intensity falls to zero at angles of,

with successively weaker secondary maxima in between.

- Diffraction limits the angular resolution of a telescope to
**λ/D**where**D**is the diameter. Two stars closer than this give strongly overlapping images. - Similarly, a microscope objective subtending angle
**2β**at the focus, in a medium of refractive index**n**, will just separate two objects spaced at a distance**λ/(2n sin β)**, which is the resolution limit of a microscope. - Diffraction determines the limitations of the concept of light rays. A beam of width ‘
**a**’ travels a distance**a**, called the^{2}/λ**Fresnel distance**, before it starts to spread out due to diffraction.

Natural light, e.g., from the sun is

**unpolarised**. This means the electric vector takes all possible directions in the transverse plane, rapidly and randomly, during a measurement.- A polaroid transmits only one component (parallel to a special axis). The resulting light is called
**linearly polarised or plane polarised**. When this kind of light is viewed through a second polaroid whose axis turns through**2π**, two maxima and minima of intensity are seen. **Polarised light**can also be produced by reflection at a special angle (called the Brewster angle) and by scattering through**π/2**in the earth’s atmosphere.

## List of Topics

Wave front | Plane, spherical and cylindrical wavefront |

Huygens principle | |

Refraction and reflection | Refraction of plane wave (rarer to denser) |

Refraction at a rarer medium | |

Snell’s law | |

Doppler’s effect | |

Coherent and Incoherent waves | Coherent sources |

Theory of interference | |

Constructive and destructive interference | |

Young’s experiment | Schematic representation and working |

Fringe width | |

Diffraction | Explanation of the phenomenon |

The single slit | |

Diffraction due to a single slit | |

Intensity distribution curve | |

Resolving power of optical instruments | Limit of resolution of (a) microscope and (b) telescope |

Validity of ray optics | |

Polarisation | Polarised and unpolarised light |

Plane polarised light | |

Polaroid and its uses | |

Pass axis – Malus’ law | |

Polarisation by scattering | |

Polarisation by reflection | |

Brewster’s angle | |

Numerical Problems | Concept based problems |