The Application of Diffraction in Light Production


The bending of light towards all corners in which it spread out and light areas where a shadow is to be formed is known as diffraction. The separation of interference from diffraction is a bit complex since they both happen at the same time.

A typical example is the silver lining we see across the sky it is a result of diffraction of light, whenever the light given by the sun passes through the cloud a silver lining is formed in the sky.

As I stated above, diffraction is the spreading of light around obstacles, diffraction doesn't only take place with light it takes place with sound, electromagnetic radiation which involves light, x-rays and gamma Ray and small particles that moves such as atoms, neutrons and electrons.

One of the effect is that it doesn't allow for the formation of sharp shadows and this is caused as a result of interference. When light is directed on the edge of an object, the light won't continue in a straight line but will bend according to the object, which will cause a blur at the edges of the shadow of the particular object.

The rate of bending is proportional to the wavelength. The regular pattern of an object can be recorded by chanelling the diffracted light on a photographic film.

Another practical example of a diffractiob is placing your hand in front of a light directed to it, then closing your fingers slowly, observe the light the shows in-between then and watch as the fingers come close to each other, you will see Different dark lines parallel to the finger.

The parallel lines are the diffraction patterns.
Also we usually see colours like the rainbow which are usually seen when light is directed towards the water droplets which is as a result of diffraction.

The word diffractiob can be used as scattering in some cases as they are considered to be synonymous. Since diffraction is the scattering of light.


This is the most fundamental and classical concept of DIFFRACTION of light, it was first carried out in the 19th century, it shows that when a light passed through a slit also known as aperture the result is dependent on the physical size of the slit with respect to the wavelength of the light beam.


There have been several applications of DIFFRACTION ranging from grating to x-ray to hologram etc. We will be looking at the applications one after the other

1. Diffraction grating:

This is the most important tool of science which diffraction was taken advantage of it is known as diffraction grating. Instead of the creation of a single aperture, large number of apertures are made as many as 25,000 in an inch are made in a material.

To make this very sensitive innovation, it is neccessary to bite that the slits just be parallel, have the same width and must be spaced equally. The purpose of the diffraction grating is to change the incident beam of light into spectrum, this is achievable because the slits or apertures of the grating diffracts the light beam but due to the equally spaced, parallel and same width in the slits the diffracted wave then mix together constructively so as to enable the different components to be viewed differently and separately.


Image Source

The Spectra produced by this device are very useful in studying the structure of atoms and molecules and also to check the composition of the stars.


X Ray's are basically light waves but they have a shorter wavelength.Whenever they illuminate a solid material, the Ray's are diffracted by the atoms in the solid material. Since it is known to be made up of equally spaced atoms, it is quite possible to make use of the DIFFRACTION that are produced to determine the locations and distance existing between the atoms.

Crystals that has equally spaced atims diffract x Ray's this is according to Brigg's law. An instrument called diffractometer is used to produce diffraction pattern that can be likened to that of the crystals to determine the structure of the new material.

3. Hologram :

whenever two light beams mix together at an angle on a photographic plate or other materials used to record image, it produces an interference pattern of dark and bright lines which alternate, this process is used to manufacture holographic DIFFRACTION grating of high quality due to the fact that they are equally spaced, parallel and of equal width. Hologram.

Which means Holo - whole and Gram - message is known to be a complicated diffraction grating. The unfocused diffraction pattern of an object and the mixing of the light beam is what is involved in hologram.

Yo reconstruct the image of an object the beam is diffracted by the plane surfaces in the hologram and thus enables the observer to view the image in a three dimensional way.

4. Compact Disc reflecting rainbow colour:

We must have seen the different colours that show at the back of a compact Disc whenever we focus it in different angles that light is directed at. All recorded data on the compact Disc is stored on the microscopic pits ( where data is stored in binary format in a disc) which has several lengths which carries the information on the disc.

The disc are made to be the same width and of equal distance, this forms a diffracting grating on the compact Disc mirror surface.

5. The red appearance of sun:

This is an amazing fact which most people don't know. The red appearance of sun during sunsetvor sunrise is as a result of DIFFRACTION.

The sun gets red appearance because light gets diffrscted by dust particles in the atmosphere.

In conclusion, DIFFRACTION is very important in our every day Life as it is tagged as an important tool used by science.

references consulted and recommended

Who is Mandate?

Mandate is by name Adeniji Adeshina, a student of Civil and Environmental Engineering from Kwara State University. I hail from Mopamuro Kogi state Nigeria


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