|1.||physics a deviation in the direction of a wave at the edge of an obstacle in its path|
|2.||any phenomenon caused by diffraction and interference of light, such as the formation of light and dark fringes by the passage of light through a small aperture|
|3.||deflection of sound waves caused by an obstacle or by nonhomogeneity of a medium|
|[C17: from New Latin diffractiō a breaking to pieces, from Latin diffringere to shatter, from dis- apart + frangere to break]|
|physics the distinctive pattern of light and dark fringes, rings, etc, formed by diffraction|
diffraction dif·frac·tion (dĭ-frāk'shən)
Change in the directions and intensities of a group of waves after passing by an obstacle or through an aperture.
The interference pattern that results when a wave or a series of waves undergoes diffraction, as when passed through a diffraction grating or the lattices of a crystal. The pattern provides information about the frequency of the wave and the structure of the material causing the diffraction. See also interferometer.
The breaking up of an incoming wave by some sort of geometrical structure — for example, a series of slits — followed by reconstruction of the wave by interference. Diffraction of light is characterized by alternate bands of light and dark or bands of different colors.