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Full text of "Scientific Papers - Vi"

[Proceedings of the Royal Society, A, Vol. LXXXIX. pp. 194219, 19] 3.]
IN a former paper* I gave solutions applicable to the passage of light through very narrow slits in infinitely thin perfectly opaque screens, for the two principal cases where the polarisation is either parallel or perpendicular to the length of the slit. It appeared that if the width (2&) of the slit is very small in comparison with the wave-length (A,), there is a much more free passage when the electric vector is perpendicular to the slit than when it is parallel to the slit, so that unpolarised light incident upon the screen will, after passage, appear polarised in the former manner. This conclusion is in accordance with the observations of Fizeauf upon the very narrowest slits. Fizeau found, however, that somewhat wider slits (scratches upon silvered glass) gave the opposite polarisation ; and I have long wished to extend the calculations to slits of width comparable with X. The subject has also a practical interest in connection with observations upon the Zee man effect J.
The analysis appropriate to problems of this sort would appear to be by use of elliptic coordinates; but I have not seen my way to a solution on these lines, which would, in any case, be rather complicated. In default of such a solution, I have fallen back upon the approximate methods of my former paper. Apart from the intended application, some of the problems which present themselves have an interest of their own. It will be convenient to repeat the general argument almost in the words formerly employed
* "On the Passage of Waves through Apertures in Plane Screens and Allied Problems," Phil. Mag. 1897, "Vol. XLIII. p. 259 ; Scientific Papers, Vol. iv. p. 283.
t Annale.s de CJiimie, 1861, Vol. LXIII. p. 385 ; Mascart's Trait6 d'Optique,  645. See also Phil. Mag. 1907, Vol. xiv. p. 350; Scientific Papers, Vol. v. p. 417.
J Zeeman, Amsterdam Proceedings, October, 1912.
R.    VI.
11ting, given in size and shape, may have a given value at every point.