Interference of waves
Baird, Christopher S. Department of Chemistry and Physics, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas.
Last reviewed:August 2021
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- Constructive and destructive interference
- Wave intensity during interference
- Types of wave interference and applications
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The process whereby two or more waves overlap to form complex patterns and effects. When two or more waves exist at the same location at the same time, they overlap to form a composite wave which is the mathematical sum of the original waves (see illustration). This concept is called the principle of superposition. When two or more waves overlap that have similar frequencies, similar polarizations, and are coherent, the principle of superposition leads them to experience a stable effect called wave interference. See also: Frequency measurement; Light; Polarization of waves; Sound; Superposition principle
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