SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 119: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 119

2. In Young’s double-slit interference experiment, what is the difference in path length of the light waves from the two slits at the center of the first bright fringe above the central maximum?

A. 0
B. λ
C. λ
D. λ
E. λ

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Since the fringe is bright, the waves must interfere constructively. This implies that the difference in path lengths must be a whole number times the wavelength, eliminating B, C, and E. The central maximum is equidistant from the two slits, so ∆ℓ = 0 there. At the first bright fringe above the central maximum, we have ∆ℓ = λ.

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