Tecently, Panuski and Mungan presented the results of their study of light diffraction from a variable-width single slit by observing and measuring the diffraction pattern on an observation screen placed at a fixed distance. In this way, the authors were able to demonstrate to students the important near-field effects for single-slit diffraction, which most often have been neglected in introductory courses. In this paper, we show that there exists very good agreement between observed data and theoretical calculations by plotting intensity from single slits using a method with Fresnel-Kirchhoff integrals (Fig. 1). In addition to these comparisons, and with the evaluation of the Fresnel numbers, we argue that Panuski and Mungan demonstrated not only the near-field Fresnel, but also the far-field Fraunhofer regimes as well as the transition between the two. Furthermore, with a greater increase in the slit width, the transition to the geometric regime can be demonstrated (Fig. 2).

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