Diffraction refers to the bending or spreading out of waves when they travel through a small opening or when they pass round a small obstacle.

  • A phenomenon of waves
  • Waves bend from a straight line path and enter a region that would otherwise be shadowed

Diffraction depends on the relative value of the wavelength and size of aperture.

  • Diffraction is observable only when the wavelength of the wave is the same order of magnitude as width of the aperture. This is the reason why under normal circumstances, we never observe any diffraction of light because the holes and apertures that we come across everyday are much bigger than the wavelength of light.
  • If the wavelength is much more than the size of aperture, diffraction is less observable even though bending becomes more pronounced. Less energy is able to pass through the aperture, hence less observable.

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