The Phenomenon of Diffraction

Diffraction is the property of waves to go around obstacles or pass through an orifice when they are partially interrupted by them.

Diffraction over the surface of a liquid

Diffraction is a physical phenomenon that occurs with any type of wave, such as sound waves and light rays, and which can be understood as the deviation of the rectilinear path of light after it passes through the edge of a beam. An object. This phenomenon happens when part of the wavefront encounters an obstacle or barrier. We can define this phenomenon as follows:

Diffraction is the property that waves have to go around obstacles or pass through an orifice when they are partially interrupted by it.

This property of wave motions was studied in 1803 by the English physician, physicist and scientist Thomas Young, who became very famous for having managed to obtain interference with light. During an experiment, Young demonstrated that light is a wave motion and that it also undergoes diffraction when passing through a small hole. In order to prove that diffraction also happened with light, Thomas made light beams pass through a small and narrow opening and with a screen located on the other side he saw that not only a straight line appeared, but a set of several tracks with different intensities. In this way, he ended up showing that light, like other wave phenomena, suffered from the phenomenon of diffraction.

Imagine the following example situation: two people separated by a wall. Knowing that diffraction occurs with wave phenomena, we can predict that it is possible for the two people to dialogue perfectly, as the sound waves go around the obstacle and reach the other person’s ears.

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