Physics Experiments: Double Slit

We have wanted to do the Double-Slit experiment for a long time. Finally, last Friday, armed with a suitable box, we ventured outside. To our common disappointment, light just wouldn’t behave as a wave this time, even though we had no detectors to check which slit the photons actually passed through. What we observed inside the box looked like two perfect stripes. No interference.

No interference: light behaving like particles

Simon looking inside the double-slit experiment box to check for the interference
Simon’s sister Neva dragging the box down the stairs

Experiment failure aside, we were in for a pleasant surprise, too: the box suddenly turned into a huge camera obscura! This is a picture of me and the blue sky as seen from inside the box!

An image of me, the buildings and the sky above as it appears inside the camera obscura

When we got home, and tried to look inside the box again in the dimmer light in the living room, we were finally rewarded with this beautiful interference pattern:

The interference pattern that the light coming inside the box through the double slit creates (proving that light is also a wave)

We can only guess why it didn’t work outside. The wrong angle of the light beams (the sun being high in the sky above our heads)? Or maybe the light wat too bright, too many photons got in? The slits being too wide? We’ll be repeating this experiment for sure.

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