mite-67638_960_720.webp

9.4. Resolution

We normally think of resolution of as our ability to distinguish detail on things, whether that is the resolution of our phone screen or when looking through a microscope. When we look through a normal optical microscope are able to view living cells (on the order of micrometers), however we are unable to clearly view things much smaller than this. These limitations are due to the fact that the things we are looking at are getting towards a similar size as the wavelengths of visible light.

The above image shows a tiny mite (approx the size of the width of a human hair), taken with an electron microscope. Because electrons have a much smaller wavelength than visible light (see more about electron and matter waves in Chapter 12), electron microscopes have a much higher resolution. There are a number of other imaging technologies that provide much higher resolutions than visible microscopes - IBM used a device called a 'scanning tunnelling microscope' to produce the world's smallest film; stop motion footage produced by imaging individual atoms.

This section has been divided up as follows:

 

What is Resolution?

Resolution and Wavelength

The Rayleigh Criterion

The Rayleigh Criterion is how we can determine if something is resolved or not. When viewing something we have some kind of viewing aperture, whether that is the diameter of a telescope or the width of the pupil in our eye. As there is light passing through an aperture, we observe diffraction as it spreads out, producing a single slit diffraction pattern. If we have two different objects (e.g. two close together stars in the sky), light from each will produce its own individual

 diffraction pattern, which will overlap.

This simulation is essential viewing to understand the Rayleigh Criterion. We are comparing the position of the first minimum of one pattern with the central maximum of the other.

geogebra_logo.png

Video Lessons

Chris Doner
Single Slit and Resolution
IB Specific

Resources

IB Physics
Topic 9 Notes
IB-Physics.net
Chapter 9 Summary
IB Revision Notes
Mr. G
9.4 Teaching Notes
9.4 Student Notes

Questions

Cambridge University Press
Topic 9: Add Qs
Topic 9: Add Qs MS
Topic 9: MCQs
CUP Website Link
Freely available online
Dr French's Eclecticon
Interference, Doppler, Polarisation
Interference, Doppler, Polarisation Solutions
Link to Dr French's Site
Extension: Pre-University Material
Grade Gorilla
9.4 (Resolution) MCQ
Topic 9 (Waves) End Quiz
Quick IB Specific Mixed MCQs
Mr. G
9.4 Formative Assessment
Topic 9 Summary Qs
IB Specific Questions
 

Resolvance of Diffraction Gratings

Video Lessons

Resources

IB Physics
Topic 9 Notes
IB-Physics.net
Chapter 9 Summary
IB Revision Notes
Mr. G
9.4 Teaching Notes
9.4 Student Notes

Questions

Cambridge University Press
Topic 9: Add Qs
Topic 9: Add Qs MS
Topic 9: MCQs
CUP Website Link
Freely available online
Grade Gorilla
9.4 (Resolution) MCQ
Topic 9 (Waves) End Quiz
Quick IB Specific Mixed MCQs
Mr. G
9.4 Formative Assessment
Topic 9 Summary Qs
IB Specific Questions
 

Additional Resources

IB Questions

A question by question breakdown of the IB papers by year is shown below to allow you to filter questions by topic. Hopefully you have access to many of these papers through your school system. If available, there may be some links to online sources of questions, though please be patient if the links are broken! (DrR: If you do find some broken links, please contact me through the site)

 

Questions on this topic (Section 9) are shown in royal blue.

A question by question breakdown of the IB papers by year is shown below to allow you to filter questions by topic. Hopefully you have access to many of these papers through your school system. If available, there may be some links to online sources of questions, though please be patient if the links are broken! (DrR: If you do find some broken links, please contact me through the site)

 

Questions on this topic (Section 9) are shown in royal blue.

Use this grid to practice past IB questions topic by topic. You can see from the colours how similar the question topic breakdown is year by year. The more you can familiarise yourself with the IB question style the better - eventually you will come to spot those tricks and types of questions that reappear each year.