RThornton
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Can someone explain single slit diffraction to me and explain why and how do you get a pattern of light and dark fringes?
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kastiel
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With single slit diffraction, you get a series of light and dark fringes (or a rainbow of fringes if you are using white light) because all of the paths of the phasors add up (causing the light fringe) and don't add up (causing the dark fringes).

The light will naturally diffract around the slit outwards, but less light ends up there, and the pahsors are all messed up so the resultant pahsor won't be very large, and thus the patch will be dimmer there.

The probability of a photo of light ending up at a particular place is proportional to the amplitude of the results phasor squared. This is why you get the brightest spot directly in-front of the slit, as the most light is passing through there.
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