Chapter 15: Interference and Diffraction


With this two-dimensional waves applet, you can manipulate various aspects of the simulation to see different wave properties, such as interference and diffraction.

This website describes light wave interference in greater detail and includes a short video of a simple interference demonstration you can do at home.

A further discussion of wave interference with links to photos and a simulation.


A very enthusiastic science teacher talks about diffraction and how its observable properties differ depending on the order of the wavelength.

A video and set of instructions that allow students to see laser diffraction at work.

Another, slightly different demonstration of diffraction which can also be done at home.

Build your own spectroscope and view the light spectrum.


A brief description of how lasers work as well as the story of the very first laser, invented in 1960.

Play Laser Challenge and learn about lasers as you complete your mission: plan a party for Professor Photon, inventor of the super laser! Bomus points for correctly answering questions about lasers.

In 2010, the LaserFest website ran a video contest. From a rap about lasers to interference patterns set to Sinatra, here are the winners. Includes a bonus ”people’s choice award” winning video.

In 1998 NASA scientists used laser spectroscopy, among other techniques and tools, to help preserve the Charters of Freedom.

Five good reasons why a laser won’t work as a light saber in your next Star Wars reenactment.