OPTIC INTERFERENCE DESCRIPTION
Light waves are composed
of electromagnetic waves that oscillate from positive to negative in a
continuous fashion as they travel through space, or any other medium. The
number of oscillations per second is known as the frequency.
Light waves travel extremely fast in a vacuum, 299,792,500 meters per second.
The distance that light travels during one cycle is called the wavelength
of the light, which represents the color of the light. The magnitude of each
oscillation is known as the amplitude, which corresponds to the
intensity or brightness of the light. When two electromagnetic waves
of the same frequency, and thus the same wavelength, come together. They can
add up constructively or destructively depending on
the timing, or phase of the two waves. The illustration below
shows how two electromagnetic waves that are in phase, each with
an amplitude of
one, can add up to a wave with an amplitude of two. This is called
constructive interference. However, if the two waves are out of phase
by just one half of the wavelength, they add together such that they cancel each
other out, and the result is a zero intensity. This is called destructive
interference, and is shown below.
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