- wave front
a surface, real or imaginary, that is the locus of all adjacent points at which the phase of oscillation is the same.[1865-70]
* * *Imaginary surface that represents corresponding points of waves vibrating in unison.As identical waves from the same source travel through a homogeneous medium, corresponding crests and troughs are in phase at any instant; that is, they have completed the same fraction of their periodic motion. Any surface drawn through all points of the same phase constitutes a wave front.
* * *▪ physicsimaginary surface representing corresponding points of a wave that vibrate in unison. When identical waves having a common origin travel through a homogeneous medium, the corresponding crests and troughs at any instant are in phase; i.e., they have completed identical fractions of their cyclic motion, and any surface drawn through all the points of the same phase will constitute a wave front.The Figure—> shows a spherical wave front (ws) for a sound wave spreading out from a point source and a plane wave front (wp) for a parallel beam of light, such as that emitted from a laser. Wave fronts for longitudinal and transverse waves may be surfaces of any configuration depending on the source, the medium, and the obstructions encountered. See also Huygens' principle.
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