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AQA AS Physics A
PHYA2 ­ Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Revision Notes - Waves


The frequency of a wave is the number of cycles that occur in one second. The unit of frequency is the
Hertz, Hz. A frequency of 1Hz is one wave per second.

KHz = Kilohertz =…

Page 2

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AQA AS Physics A
PHYA2 ­ Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Revision Notes - Waves




Critical angle equation:
n
sin c = n21 Where n2 < n1

c = Critical angle
n1 = Refractive index 1
n2 = Refractive index 2

Re-arrangement:
n
c = sin-1 n21


n
n1 = sin…

Page 3

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AQA AS Physics A
PHYA2 ­ Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Revision Notes - Waves


The distance between the two slits, d. increasing d makes the interference fringes closer
together.
The wavelength of light, . The fringes are closer together at short wavelengths.
The distance, D, between the slits and the…

Page 4

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AQA AS Physics A
PHYA2 ­ Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Revision Notes - Waves



n
d = sin



n = dsin






= dsin
n





The first maximum will occur when n = 0, i.e. when the light from adjacent slits has zero path
difference. This will happen when = 0°…

Page 5

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AQA AS Physics A
PHYA2 ­ Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Revision Notes - Waves


Diffraction gratings are useful for analysing the light from stars, enabling astronomers to determine
what elements are present, what the surface temperature of the star is moving.

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