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Diffraction Grating

  1. Dec 22, 2014 #1
    Simple question about this:

    Say you have a wire diffraction grating. Does the incoming light excite the electrons in the metal, which scatter new light *or* does the incoming light simply pass through the "holes" in the mesh and get absorbed by the grating? I've seen it explained both ways, yet they seem incompatible.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2014 #2
    It is only the path separations which cause every photon to interfere with itself creating the diffraction you see.
     
  4. Dec 22, 2014 #3
    I get that. I had always understood these gratings as allowing the "original" light to pass through the holes in them, then interfere with itself. However, I recently read (Feynman Lectures) that the light excites the elections in the metal grating, and that is what emits the light which forms the pattern.
     
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