Page:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Vol 60.djvu/184

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Wave-length of Electric Radiation by Diffraction Grating.

measures its own wave-length. There is, however, one difficulty in reconciling the theoretical value with that actually obtained. According to theory, the wave-length should be equal to twice the circumference, or 2π times the diameter of the circular resonator. The value actually obtained by Messrs. Sarasin and De la Rive is, as has been said before, eight times the diameter of the circle.

Rubens, using a bolometer and Lecher's modification of the slide bridge, determined the nodes and loops in a secondary circuit in which stationary electric waves were produced. A curve obtained by representing the bolometer deflections as ordinates and the distances of the bridge from one end as abscissæ, shows the harmonic character of the electric disturbance in the wire. It was found that the wave-length obtained by this method did not depend on the period of the primary vibrator; the wave-length measured was merely that of the free vibration started in the secondary circuit by the primary disturbance.

Hertz’s method is therefore the only one for the measurement of electric waves in air, and the result obtained by this method is vitiated by the influence of the periodicity of the resonator. It was therefore thought desirable to obtain the wave-length of electric radiation in free space by a method unaffected by any peculiarity of the receiver.

I have succeeded in determining the wave-length of electric radiation by the use of curved gratings, and the results obtained seem to be possessed of considerable degrees of accuracy. Rowland's method of using the curved grating for obtaining diffraction light spectra was also found well suited for the production of pure spectra of electric radiation. The focal curve ƒ in this arrangement is a circle, having as a diameter the straight line joining the centre of curvature C with the apex M of the grating.

Fig. 1.


G, the grating; M, its apex; f, the focal curve.

A source of radiation situated on this curve will give a diffracted spectrum, situated on the same curve defined by the equation

(a + b)(sin i ± sin θ) = ,