GCE A-Level Physics Syllabus

Chapter 12: Superposition

Chapter Topics:

Principle of superposition
Stationary waves
Diffraction
Two-source interference
Single slit and multiple slit diffraction

Question Bank:

Learning Objectives:

(a) Explain and use the principle of superposition in simple applications.

(b) Show an understanding of the terms interference, coherence, phase difference and path difference.

(c) Show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate stationary waves using microwaves, stretched strings and air columns.

(d) Explain the formation of a stationary wave using a graphical method, and identify nodes and antinodes.

(e) Explain the meaning of the term diffraction.

(f) Show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate diffraction including the diffraction of water waves in a ripple tank with both a wide gap and a narrow gap.

(g) Show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate two-source interference using water waves, sound waves, light waves and microwaves.

(h) Show an understanding of the conditions required for two-source interference fringes to be observed.

(i) Recall and solve problems using the equation λ = ax /D for double-slit interference.

(j) Recall and use the equation sinθ = λ / b to locate the position of the first minima for single slit diffraction.

(k) Recall and use the Rayleigh criterion θ ≈ λ / b for the resolving power of a single aperture.

(l) Recall and use the equation d sinθ = nλ to locate the positions of the principal maxima produced by a diffraction grating.

(m) Describe the use of a diffraction grating to determine the wavelength of light (the structure and use of a spectrometer are not required).