A mechanical beam chopper consists of a rotating disc of regularly spaced wide slitswhich allow light to pass through them. A continuous light beam, after passing through therotating disc, is switched-on and switched-off periodically, and a series of opticalpulses are produced. The intensity of each pulse is expected to rise and fall smoothlywith time. However, a careful study has revealed that the edges of mechanically choppedlaser light pulses consist of periodic intensity undulations which can be detected with aphoto detector. In this paper, it is shown that the intensity undulations in mechanicallychopped laser pulses are produced by diffraction of light from the rotating disc, and adetailed explanation is given of the intensity undulations in mechanically chopped laserpulses. An experiment presented in this paper provides an efficient method to capture aone dimensional diffraction profile of light from a straight sharp-edge in the timedomain. In addition, the experiment accurately measures wavelengths of three differentlaser beams from the undulations in mechanically chopped laser light pulses.
The American Journal of Physics – American Association of Physics Teachers
Published: Jun 25, 2018
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