Why does sound wave suffer more diffraction than light waves generally?

Seettiffrourfk6 2022-10-14 Answered
Why does sound wave suffer more diffraction than light waves generally?
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Answers (1)

cokeman206
Answered 2022-10-15 Author has 18 answers
As a general guide, if we consider diffraction of a wave with wavelength λ from an object of size d then the characteristic angle of the diffraction is given by:
sin θ = O ( λ d )
where the O() symbol means of order i.e. roughly the same as. So for example in a Young's slits experiment, where d is the slit spacing, the angle of the first maximum is given by:
sin θ = λ d
sin θ 1.22 λ d
It should now be obvious why diffraction of sound is so commonly observed in everyday life. The wavelength of sound is of order one metre, so objects around a metre in size will diffract it strongly. By contrast the wavelength of light is around half a micron, so you need to get the size down to the micron scale before light starts scattering strongly.
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