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- the breaking up of a wave as it passes a geometric structure (e.g. a slit) followed by reconstruction of the wave by interference
- Note: the diffraction of light (and other electromagnetic radiation), into patterns of light and dark bands or spots, is a function of quantum mechanics
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
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.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
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