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The phenomena observed when waves are obstructed by obstacles or pass through apertures are called diffraction effects. All (two or three dimensional) waves exhibit diffraction effects but the magnitude of these effects depends on the wavelength of the waves. Diffraction effects are most obvious when the object or aperture causing the diffraction is similar in size to the wavelength of the waves.

i) Diffraction by a "large" object   ii) Diffraction at a "large" aperture


iii) Diffraction by a "small" object

  iv) Diffraction by a "narrow" aperture



An arrow drawn on a diagram to show the direction of propagation of a set of waves is called a ray.

A ray is always at 90 to the wavefront.


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