diffraction diffraction  /dɪf ˈræk ʃən/


  • (n) when light passes sharp edges or goes through narrow slits the rays are deflected and produce fringes of light and dark bands


  1. It was with diffraction gratings that science learned that electrons were waves as well as particles, that beams of light were particles as well as waves.
  2. He realized he needed to understand X-ray diffraction and wanted to join Wilkins in London but never got an opportunity to ask him.
  3. The iridescence of mother-of-pearl is a diffraction effect, caused by numerous tiny grooves in the smooth surface of the shell.


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