Abstract

The following factors which affect resolution, the numerical aperture of the instrument D/f, finite entrance and exit slits (2d), absorption of the prism B, and the finite width of the absorption line 2δ, have been treated simultaneously to get the exact relationship between the resolving power 2a and slit width. The results are presented graphically for various values of natural line width and the prism absorption. For B, δ and d/δ large, the relationship can be approximated by a law of quadrature

3a2=4d2+(δ+B)2,

where a, d, and δ are measured in units characteristic of the diffraction pattern at wavelength λ, λf/πD. The absorption coefficient in absolute units is multiplied by a quarter of the base of the prism to give B.

In the practical range, the law of combination is much stronger, and the resolving power for small δ and B can actually be better than that expected from the geometrical optics of the slits alone.

© 1951 Optical Society of America

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