Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Diffraction'
n : when light passes sharp edges or goes through narrow slits
the rays are deflected and produce fringes of light and
- Diffraction \Dif*frac"tion\, n. [Cf. F. diffraction.] (Opt.)
The deflection and decomposition of light in passing by the
edges of opaque bodies or through narrow slits, causing the
appearance of parallel bands or fringes of prismatic colors,
as by the action of a grating of fine lines or bars.
Remarked by Grimaldi (1665), and referred by him to a
property of light which he called diffraction.
Diffraction grating. (Optics) See under Grating.
Diffraction spectrum. (Optics) See under Spectrum.
Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Diffraction'
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word "diffraction" and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1665. In classical physics, the diffraction phenomenon is described as the apparent bending of waves around small obstacles and the spreading out of waves past small openings. Similar effects occur when light waves travel through a medium with a varying refractive index or a sound wave through one with varying acoustic impedance. Diffraction occurs with all waves, including sound waves, water waves, and electromagnetic waves such as visible light, x-rays and radio waves. As physical objects have wave-like properties (at the atomic level), diffraction also occurs with matter and can be studied according to the principles of quantum mechanics.[See more about Diffraction at Dictionary 3.0 Encyclopedia]
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