In the field of science, light specifically, there are terms that we usually here but often not sure what are they about or what they simply mean. Two of those terms are interference and diffraction. These two are natural phenomena that have little deep explanation. But believe it or not, these two processes of light are not complicated as they sound. Hence, little did we know that we might be using their applications in our daily lives. So to explain the difference between them, this article will go through the definition and application of diffraction and interference.
Technically speaking, interference is the process or either cancelling or reinforcing two or more waves of the same frequency. It could be sound, light, or any other electromagnetic waves. The amplitude of the wave resulted in the process is equal to the sum of the combining waves amplitudes. But speaking about light, inference is described as the process where electromagnetic waves overlap with each other and generate interference patterns. Since the bandwidth of interference in light is relatively small, it is difficult to observe the patterns using light. Interference can be applied in several applications like wave simplification, signal processing, heat distribution mapping, and simplification of light.
On the other hand, diffraction refers to the process that occurs with all waves like sound waves, electromagnetic waves and water waves. It is scientifically caused by one wave of light that is shifted by a diffracting object. It is also used in several applications. For instance, diffraction is used in spectrometers to determine what kind of materials a substance is made of. Some applications like transforming the light into spectrum, holography and x-ray diffraction are some of the most common uses of diffraction of light. If you check ECI optical dichroic mirror, you can see how diffraction and interference work.