6C20.30 - Diffraction - Pinhole

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Diffraction - Pinhole
Pinhole Diffraction
Area of Study:
Optics, Astronomy
Permanently Mounted Optics Rail Setup or Helium-Neon Laser (2 to 5 mW), Optics Bench, Meter Stick, and Mounted Pinholes.

Pinhole diffraction can be demonstrated with the shown apparatus. Projected onto a white screen in a darkened room it can be seen quite well. The #100 pinhole works the best for this.

Note: The 2 axis stage used with the laser pointer makes it very easy to adjust for maximum intensity through the pinhole.

If using a regular laser, the closer the pinhole to the laser the easier it is to adjust.

  • V. Anantha Narayanan, "Low‐Cost Diffraction Experiment", TPT, Vol. 34, #6, Sept. 1996, p. 382.
  • D. S. Burch, "Fresnel Diffraction by a Circular Aperture", AJP, Vol. 53, #3, Mar. 1985, p. 255.
  • Rainer Weiss and Dirk J. Muehlner, "Ultrasimple Demonstration of Fraunhofer Diffraction and Interference", AJP, Vol. 37, #5, May 1969, p. 566.
  • Richard E. Berg, "Demo Hints: Laser Diffraction", PIRA Newsletter, Vol. 3, #11, Mar. 31, 1989, p. 3.
  • Yaakov Kraftmakher, "4.2. Diffraction of Light", Experiments and Demonstrations in Physics, ISBN 981-256-602-3, p. 227.
  • "O-550. Pinhole with Laser", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook, 1993.
  • T. Kallard, "Airy's Disc", Exploring Laser Light, p. 191.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Diffraction: The Spreading of Light", A+ Projects in Astronomy, p. 43.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Spreader", Help, My Science Project is Due Tomorrow, p. 94.
  • Robert Ehrlich, "Q.12. Pin Holes in Aluminum Foil", Turning the World Inside Out and 174 Other Simple Physics Demonstrations, p. 204 - 205.
  • C. Harvey Palmer, "Experiment B18: Demonstration of the Illumination in the Airy Disk", Optics - Experiments and Demonstrations, John Hopkins Press, 1962.

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