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Thread: Diffraction

  1. #1 Diffraction 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Driving in my car
    Watched a vid where the guy says in order for the human body wavelength to diffract, an aperture of a trillionth of a trillionth of trillionth of an inch is required. Not likely. Apparently our wavelength is practically next to nothing.

    Diffraction is defined as the interference or bending of waves around the corners of an obstacle or through an aperture into the region of geometrical shadow of the obstacle/aperture. The diffracting object or aperture effectively becomes a secondary source of the propagating wave.
    Obviously light waves, quantum particles, ridiculously small bits of matter (electrons, neutrons, maybe an atom or two), don't require such small openings in order to diffract as evidence by double slit experiment.

    Made me think about quantum particles and how many times they are diffracted in a day in the universe. Surely they occasionally pass thru naturally occurring apertures. Like when I observe a star, am I observing light that hasn't been interfered with or may have squeezed through a natural aperture or two somewhere along the way? The light we gather, is it always diffracted light and is that secondary propagation? Can we as observers see light diffract? Is there a rule as to how big/small an opening could get and still diffract light waves?

    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Diffraction is most obvious when the gap is a similar size to the wavelength of the diffracted wave. This can be seen when water waves pass through a gap. For light (with a much smaller wavelength) it is less obvious but one effect is that photo images are less sharp around the edges if a small shuuter aperture is used. For particles (even tinier wavelengths) you will not observe anything without specialist equipment.

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