Interference

In optics, the interaction of light waves with each other. When beams of light are split or deflected—such as when they pass through a diffraction grating—the resulting waves will interact with each other. As waves, they will each possess crests and troughs; when interacting waves are "in phase" with each other, then the crests of one wave will line up with the crests of another, magnifying the intensity of the light wave (known as "constructive interference"). On the other hand, if the two waves are "out of phase" with each other, then the crests of one wave will line up with the troughs of another, and they will essentially cancel each other out (known as "destructive interference"). It is the effect of constructive interference that makes a diffraction grating so effective at breaking white light into individual spectral components.

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