Basic Theory of Diffraction

Part of the Springer Series in Optical Sciences book series (SSOS, volume 35)

In order to explain the diffraction phenomenon of light sneaking into shaded regions, C. Huygens (1678) claimed, “In the process of propagation of the wave, new wave fronts are emanated from every point of the old wave front”. This principle, however, had a serious drawback in that the wave front, as drawn, generated an unwanted wave front in the backward direction in addition to the wave front in the forward direction. This drawback was overcome by A. J. Fresnel (1818) and later by G. Kirchhoff (1882) by taking the periodic nature of the wave into consideration.


Wave Front Observation Point Basic Theory Spherical Wave Outgoing Wave 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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