Intensity Distribution from Two Coherent Sources

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This Demonstration shows the two-dimensional intensity distribution generated by the interference of two coherent wave sources. The distance between the two sources, as well as their wavelength, can be varied. Lines of constructive and destructive interference can be displayed, hyperbolic in shape. The locator on the diffraction pattern can be moved to show the path difference as an integer or half-integer multiple of the wavelength.

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The display of the intensity distribution can be varied under two conditions:

1. The intensity distribution is dependent on the path difference only: maximum color intensity will always be shown for constructive interference, no matter the distance from the sources.

2. The intensity distribution is dependent on the path difference and the distance from the sources: the colors will start to fade as distance from the sources increases, even for maximum constructive interference, because the wave intensity falls off with distance.

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Contributed by: Lorenzo Roi (June 2019)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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