The program ``huygens'' will study wave propagation through apertures. We will start by studying the interference of waves through very thin vertical slits. We will then study a single wider slit, and then multiple wide slits.

The program makes use of Huygen's principle: we write the wave form passing through the aperture as a sum (superposition) of spherical waves from each point inside the opening. Since we are interested in long, thin openings, the program first adds up the point sources along lines in the Z direction (the direction perpendicular to the screen for the wave tank on the left), and then superimposes these thin lines to make wide slits.

You should work through the next section carefully; it explains what the program is showing you!

Please try running this simulation at home or in the CIT instructional computer labs. You may consult with friends, but each student is requested to run their own simulation, generate their own plots, and analyze their own results.

Each section of this lab should take no more than an hour, if you read the lab over beforehand and understand the material. Some sections demand a calculation: bring paper and pencil and a calculator. Not all sections will be assigned in all years.

Links Back

  1. Thin Slits
  2. Single Slit Diffraction
  3. Double Slit Diffraction

Statistical Mechanics: Entropy, Order Parameters, and Complexity, now available at Oxford University Press (USA, Europe).