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Drawing of double slit diffraction


Double slit diffraction illustrated using a laser

The change or deflection in a wave pattern of light or sound. Diffraction occurs when light waves pass through an opening or past an opaque barrier. The light is deflected, or bent, toward the obscuring side of the opening or barrier. Shorter wavelengths are deflected less than longer wavelengths. The overlap of the wavelengths can cause interference and in some cases produce a diffraction pattern of light and dark bands.

Synonyms and Related Terms

diffraktion (Dan.); Beugung (Deut.); Diffraktion (Deut.); difracción (Esp.); diffraction (Fr.); diffractie (Ned.); dyfrakcja (Pol); difração (Port.);

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • John Stacy, submitted communication, 2001.