Refraction vs. diffraction

  • Thread starter T@P
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T@P

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i know that refraction is the 'bending' of light as it enters a different medium. whats diffraction? is that when light somehow disperses when it goes really far...?

can someone explain them? and why the names are so similar?
 
283
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The difference

You are correct on refraction ( differing media ) but diffraction is about a single media . Light rather like a water wave can go round corners i.e. it can illuminate an area which by straight line geometry should be in shadow .
When this occurs the image is not a simple clean image but a set of bands of light from light to dark as would be caused by interfering waves .
The single slit experiment (or double slit by Young ) illustrates
search Young double slit on Yahoo or Wikipedia there is tons of info
Yours Ray.
 

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