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Homework Help: Wave Diffraction

  1. Jan 17, 2005 #1
    (1) I don't understand how the wavelength of incoming waves affects the wavelength of the outgoing wave when it strikes a partial barrier. For example, in a ripple tank, the waves in the center hit a straight barrier, while those on the sides pass through.
    (2) Same question as 1, but when the angle of the opening between two barriers is altered. Does the wavelength of the incoming waves affect the spread of the diffraction pattern?
    Thank you very much for your help. I just have a hard time understanding waves.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2005 #2

    Does anybody know? Thanks.
  4. Jan 19, 2005 #3

    The relevant quantity is the ratio of the wavelength to the size of the hole in the barrier. A very short wavelength wave will not "notice" that it is going through anything other an infinitly wide opening, except near the edges. When the wavelength is comparable to, or larger than, the opening, it will diffract strongly.

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