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Project 5: Different Methods of Numerical Integration

Due Dates

Monday, April 16, at noon
The finished Scilab code and analysis
Instructor's solution: rect_integ.sci
Instructor's solution: trap_integ.sci
Instructor's solution: simp_integ.sci

Your job in this project: write programs to

  1. integrate a given function of one variable over a given interval, using three different methods
  2. analyze properties of the diffraction pattern when light passes through a rectangular slit, and when light passes through a circular aperture

You may find some notes of the properties of light and diffraction in lecture notes on diffraction.

You may not use Scilab's built-in functions for finding maxima or performing numerical integration -- instead, please implement these algorithms yourself.

You'll need to modify some of your existing Scilab source code files from last week in order to write two new functions. Don't worry -- they are all very much alike, and you'll be able to cut and paste.

I'll provide a couple of functions that you may use this week:

Use different methods to analyze light passing though a rectangular slit

When light of a wavelength lambda passes through a rectangular slit of width a and then falls on a distant surface, we see a set of parallel bands, bright and dark, which gradually grow indistinct. In order to find the intensity of light at an angle θ from the center of the pattern, we first define an auxiliary quantity -- it will make the computations simpler --

and then we compute

Your job is to integrate this function over various ranges of angle θ. You may use the sinc_squared.sci function I wrote, or one of your own.

You must provide three (very similar) functions this week:

 function y = rect_integ(start_x, end_x, epsilon, func) 

 function y = trap_integ(start_x, end_x, epsilon, func) 

 function y = simp_integ(start_x, end_x, epsilon, func) 
where the arguments are
              start_x          start of the interval to integrate

              end_x            end of the interval to integrate

              epsilon          termination criterion: stop iterating
                                    when the fractional change in integral
                                    drops to this level

              func             the function to integrate

              y                (output argument) is the result of the

Each routine integrates the given function over the given interval and returns as its output argument the result. For example, if I provided the simple function simple_func.sci

  function y = simple_func(x)
    y = 2*x;

and then called the rect_integ function like so:

  a = rect_integ(1, 3, 1e-4, simple_func);

I should end up with a = 7.9995... .

I suggest that you test your functions by using them to integrate simple functions, to which you know the correct answer.

Questions about the numerical algorithms:

  1. Set the wavelength lambda = 1.0 and the width of the slit a = 10.0. Use each method (rectangular, trapezoidal, Simpson's) to integrate the intensity of the diffraction pattern from an angle θ = 0 to θ = 0.3. For each of the three methods, you must divide the interval into 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 little pieces. Make a table which shows for each method
         # of slices                      fractional change      
                                        since previous iteration
  2. Using your tables as evidence, answer the following question:
  3. For each method, find out how many pieces into which you must break the interval in order to reach a fractional change of 1e-5. Make a table which shows the number the pieces, and the time it took your program to reach this point and evaluate the integral, for each method. That is, include the time it takes your program to iterate until it reaches the number of pieces required to satisfy the criterion. Which is fastest?

Let's now ask a few questions about the physics -- properties of the pattern of light itself. You may use whichever method you wish to answer them. Continue to use lambda = 1 and a = 10.

  1. At what angle does the first dark spot occur? That is, at what angle will the light intensity first drop to zero?
  2. At what angle does the second dark spot occur?
  3. At what angle does the third dark spot occur?
  4. What fraction of the total light falls in the central bright spot?
  5. What fraction of the total light falls in the second bright spot?
  6. What fraction of the total light falls in the third bright spot?

Bells and Whistles

  1. Using the same conditions as in question 1 above, make a graph which shows the fractional change on the x-axis, and the number of iterations required to find the integral to that precision on the y-axis. Use logarithmic axes in both directions. Plot the points for each method together on the same graph, so that you can compare the methods directly. It's okay if some methods have a different range than other methods (that is, the rectangle method may only go to epsilon = 1e-3, but the trapezoid method to epsilon = 1e-5, or something like that). What does the graph tell you about the efficiency of the different methods?
  2. Light which passes through a circular aperture will show a bright spot at the center of the diffraction pattern, surrounded by rings which gradually fade away. The mathematical description of the intensity of light as a function of angle away from the center is called the Airy function, after the Astronomer Royal who first analyzed it. I've written a routine, airy_func.sci, which will give you the intensity as a function of angle:
            function y = airy_func(lambda, diam, theta)
    Use this function, and one of your routines, to simulate starlight focused by the Hubble Space Telescope, which has a diameter of 2.4 meters. Adopt a wavelength in the middle of the visible range, lambda = 550 nm.
    1. Make a graph showing the intensity as a function of angle, with limits theta = 0 to theta = 10 microradians.
    2. The resolution of HST is set roughly by the point in this diffraction pattern at which the intensity first falls to zero. What angle is this?
    3. Suppose HST takes a picture of one of the Apollo landing sites on the Moon. Using your answer to the previous question, estimate the linear size (in meters) of the smallest object that HST could resolve. Could HST detect the base of the lunar module which still sits on the lunar surface?

This page maintained by Michael Richmond. Last modified Apr 10, 2007.

Creative Commons License Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.