Jenkins, Francis A. Formerly, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Watson, William W. Formerly, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
- Fraunhofer Diffraction
- Vibration curve
- Diffraction grating
- Determination of resolving power
- Other applications
- Fresnel Diffraction
- Zone plate
- Cornu's spiral
- Babinet's principle
- Diffraction of Microwaves
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The bending of light, or other waves, into the region of the geometrical shadow of an obstacle. More exactly, diffraction refers to any redistribution in space of the intensity of waves that results from the presence of an object that causes variations of either the amplitude or phase of the waves. Most diffraction gratings cause a periodic modulation of the phase across the wavefront rather than a modulation of the amplitude. Although diffraction is an effect exhibited by all types of wave motion, this article will deal only with electromagnetic waves, especially those of visible light. Some important differences that occur with microwaves will also be mentioned. For discussion of the phenomenon as encountered in other types of waves See also: Electromagnetic wave; Electron diffraction; Neutron diffraction; Sound
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