Definition of Diffraction

1. Noun. When light passes sharp edges or goes through narrow slits the rays are deflected and produce fringes of light and dark bands.

Generic synonyms: Optical Phenomenon
Specialized synonyms: X-ray Diffraction
Derivative terms: Diffract

Definition of Diffraction

1. n. 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.

Definition of Diffraction

1. Noun. (context: quantum mechanics) The breaking up of an electromagnetic wave as it passes a geometric structure (e.g. a slit), followed by reconstruction of the wave by interference. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Diffraction

1. [n -S]

Medical Definition of Diffraction

1. When a wave train passes an obstacle secondary waves are set up that interfere with the primary wave and give rise to bands of constructive and destructive interference. Around a point source of light, in consequence, is a series of concentric light and dark bands (coloured bands with white light), a diffraction pattern. This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology (11 Mar 2008)

Diffraction Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Diffraction

diffraction (current term)
diffraction grating
diffraction pattern
diffraction patterns

Literary usage of Diffraction

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Spectroscopy by Edward Charles Cyril Baly (1905)
"If the wave-length is denoted by X we may write— n\ = b sin On, when n stands for the number of the order and 6n for the angle of diffraction for the nth ..."

2. Physical Optics by Robert Williams Wood (1905)
"THE diffraction OF LIGHT. THK rectilinear propagation of light depends, as we have seen, on the destructive interference within the region of the ..."

3. International Catalogue of Scientific Literature by Royal Society (Great Britain). (1906)
"Interference and diffraction. 3600 General. 3G10 Interference. 3620 diffraction. 3640 diffraction by Small Particles. Wave Theory of 3630 diffraction ..."

4. Report of the Annual Meeting (1883)
"On a Machine for ruling large diffraction Gratings. By A. MALLOCK. ... Tin: author did not intend to enter into the general theory of diffraction gratings, ..."

5. Astronomy and Astro-physics by European Southern Observatory, Goodsell Observatory (1886)
"diffraction. BY HENRY M. PARKHURST. After making many observations with different forms of photometers, founded upon the principle of the reduction of the ..."

6. Scientific Memoirs, Being Experimental Contributions to a Knowledge of by John William Draper (1878)
"CONTENTS :—Mode of obtaining the diffraction spectrum.—The yellow is in its middle ; it is a centre of chemical action.—It is also the hottest ray. ..."

7. A Text Book of the Principles of Physics by Alfred Daniell (1884)
"The image of any point seen through a telescope or microscope has its clearness of definition interfered with by the diffraction of rays of light round the ..."

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