Waves and Optics

Course Notes

6. Progressive Waves
8. Diffraction

Practice Questions

Progressive Waves

Student's Thoughts

Comments 6

  1. In waves, it’s very important to get the basics right at the beginning. This includes remembering all the numerous definitions such as wavelength, period, phase difference; reflection, refraction, diffraction, polarisation and many more.

    By getting the hang of this, you will have a much smoother time understanding interference, superposition, standing waves and the more complicated concepts.

    Overall, it’s a very exciting topic after you get the basics understood. Especially when it gets extended to the quantum world through Young’s double slit experiment.

  2. Waves is one of those topics where having an intuitive grasp of the fundamentals will take you far. A deep understanding of transverse / longitudinal waves, reflection, refraction and diffraction is going to make the more challenging concepts much easier to tackle and enjoyable to learn!

  3. In my experience most of my classmates struggled with the ideas of phase difference and path difference. As they’re integral to understanding the interference effects observed in Young’s experiment etc. I would recommend making sure those concepts are well understood.

  4. I found that a really clear understanding of diffraction and interference is helpful, as these are concepts that will keep returning in progressively harder contexts (eg. Young’s Double Slit or quantum physics). Therefore, I’d recommend nailing the basics of progressive waves, their properties, and how they interact.

  5. I found this topic to be much easier to answer questions on when I had gone through all of the content. This meant that I could now completely understand the context of what was happening, enabling me to answer questions with far more ease. This topic is important in understanding other topics within the A Level course, such as Quantum.

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