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Page:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Vol 60.djvu/190

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175
'Wave-length of Electric Radiation by Diffraction Grating.

It should be remarked here that numerous difficulties were encountered in carrying out the experiments. The reflections from the walls of the room, from the table, &c., were at first sources of considerable trouble. By taking special care, I succeeded in eliminating these disturbances. The radiating balls were placed about 1 cm. inside the square tube. This prevented the lateral waves acting on the receiver. The receiver was provided with a guard tube, which stopped all but the diffracted radiation reaching the sensitive surface. The insulated wires from the ends of the receiver were protected by thick coatings of tinfoil, and led to the galvanometer, which was placed at a considerable distance. The cell and the galvanometer were enclosed in a metallic case with a narrow slit for the passage of light reflected from the galvanometer.

In spite of all these precautions, I was baffled for more than six months by some unknown cause of disturbance which I could not for a long time account for. It was only recently, when nearly convinced of the futility of further perseverance, that I discovered the mistake in supposing sheets of tinned iron to be perfectly opaque to electric radiation. The metal box which contains the radiating apparatus seems to transmit a small amount of radiation through its walls, and if the receiver happens to be in a very sensitive condition it responds to the feeble transmitted radiation. I then made a second metallic cover for the radiating box, which precaution was found effective, provided the receiver was not brought very close to the radiator. The receiver is still affected if placed immediately above the radiator tube, though two metallic sheets be intervening. For this reason I had to postpone taking the reading for minimum deviation till I had made a radiation-proof box. A soft iron box (to prevent escape of magnetic lines of induction), enclosed in a second enclosure of thick copper, would, I expect, be found impervious to electric radiation.

With the second protective enclosure, all difficulties were practically removed. As a test for the absence of all disturbing causes, I observed whether the receiver remained unaffected when the grating was "off." There is a further test for the absence of external disturbances. The response, if only due to the diffracted beam, depends on the position of the radiator on the focal curve. If this angle of incidence is decreased, there should then be no action on the receiver. I found the positions of the radiator on the focal curve producing action on the receiver, to be well defined, and I experienced no further disturbance due to stray radiations.

The grating is fixed vertically on the table, so that its centre is at the same height as that of the middle of the receiving and radiating tubes. A small mirror is fixed at the middle of the central strip. The observer, placing his eye at the same height as that of the