Optical Interference

The interference tutorial explores how light waves can interact to interfere with one another. When the waves are propagating in the same direction and overlap, the amplitude, wavelength and phase angle produce either an addition or subtraction of amplitude in the resultant wave. Operation of the tutorial is discussed below the tutorial window.

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This tutorial adds two adjustable light waves labeled Wave A and Wave B to yield Wave A + Wave B (the resultant wave). The individual phase angle, wavelength, and amplitude are adjustable for both waves and will automatically change the product wave. For example, to adjust the wavelength of Wave A to 500 nanometers, move the slider arrows to the left. Other controls operate in the same manner for both Waves A and B.

Contributing Authors

Mortimer Abramowitz - Olympus America, Inc., Two Corporate Center Drive., Melville, New York, 11747.

Matthew J. Parry-Hill and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.