Physics To Go is an online monthly mini-magazine and a collection of more than 950 websites with physics images, activites, and info. You can view an archived version of our June 1, 2007 issue, Diffraction below, or click to see our September 1, 2013 issue, Two views of Earth.

Physics in Your World

Diffraction Around a Pinhead image
photo credit: UMASS-Amherst Physics Lecture Support

Diffraction Around a Pinhead

This photo (hi-res version) shows light diffracting around a pinhead (see experimental setup). Note the spot of light in the center of the pattern--it's called Poisson's spot, and it shows unmistakably that light bent around the pinhead. To learn more, see this Buffalo State University webpage.

(This feature was updated on July 10, 2013.)

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Physics at Home


Try this Exploratorium Diffraction activity to demonstrate the wave nature of light by observing diffraction.  You'll need two pencils and a Mini-Maglite®.


From Physics Research

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy Image Gallery image
image credit: Paul A. Midgley, University of Cambridge

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy Image Gallery

This artistic false-color image (hi-res version) shows a diffraction pattern made when a beam of electrons struck a target of lanthanum aluminate. Neutrons diffract as well, as do x-rays and also visible light (see Physics in Your World).  These phenomena illustrate the wave-particle duality.

(This feature was updated on July 10, 2013.)

Worth a Look

More on Diffraction

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