Young's double-slit experiment: noise-resolution duality

Yakov Nesterets, Timur Eugenievich Gureyev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Statistical aspects of Young s double-slit diffraction experiment are analysed quantitatively. It is shown that the signal-to-noise ratio and the spatial resolution in the detected diffraction pattern satisfy a duality relationship which implies that both of them cannot be improved simultaneously beyond a certain limit if the total number of particles forming the image is fixed. As a consequence of this duality, it is possible to estimate the minimal number of particles that have to be detected in order for two slits separated by a given distance to be resolved with a confidence level corresponding to a pre-defined signal-to-noise ratio, e.g. according to the Rose criterion. These results are related to the recently introduced imaging system quality characteristic which combines the spatial resolution and the noise sensitivity, and allows one to estimate the efficiency with which imaging quanta are utilised in a system to deliver maximal amount of information about the imaged object. The presented results can be useful for applications where the imaging quanta are at a premium or where minimization of the radiation dose is important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3373-3381
Number of pages9
JournalOptics Express
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this