Diffraction meaning

dĭ-frăkshən
Change in the directions and intensities of a group of waves after passing by an obstacle or through an aperture whose size is approximately the same as the wavelength of the waves.
noun
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The bending and spreading of a wave, such as a light wave, around the edge of an object.
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Diffraction is defined as a process by which light waves break up into dark and light bands or into the colors of the spectrum.

Light passing through a narrow opening in the blinds, causing bright and dark shadows and patterns to fall across the floor is an example of defraction.

noun
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A similar breaking up of other waves, as of sound or electricity.
noun
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The breaking up of a ray of light into dark and light bands or into the colors of the spectrum, caused by the interference of one part of a beam with another, as when the ray is deflected at the edge of an opaque object or passes through a narrow slit.
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(quantum mechanics) The breaking up of an electromagnetic wave as it passes a geometric structure (e.g. a slit), followed by reconstruction of the wave by interference.
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The bending of electromagnetic waves as they pass around corners or through holes smaller than the wavelengths of the waves themselves. See diffraction grating and refraction.
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The process by which the propagation of radiant waveforms or light waves is modified as those waves encounter an obstacle or discontinuity, or exit one medium and enter another. Some of the waves deviate from their paths, i.e., bend, by diffraction. See also knife-edge diffraction, reflection, and refraction.
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Origin of diffraction

  • New Latin diffrāctiō diffrāctiōn- from Latin diffrāctus past participle of diffringere dis- apart dis– frangere to break bhreg- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition