Huygens principle


noun Optics, Physics.

the principle that all points on a wave front of light are sources of secondary waves and that surfaces tangential to these waves define the position of the wave front at any point in time.

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Origin of Huygens principle

First recorded in 1830–40; named after C. Huygens
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Scientific definitions for Huygens principle

Huygens' principle

The principle that any point on a wave front may be regarded as a source of spherical or circular wavelets. The sum of all such wavelets emanating from the front is same as the wavefront itself. This principle can be used to derive the laws of reflection and refraction. See also superposition.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.