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One of the light or dark bands produced by interference or diffraction of light. Distances between fringes are usually very small, because of the short wavelength of light. Fringes are clearer and more numerous when produced with light of a single color.
Diffraction fringes are formed when light from a point source, or from a narrow slit, passes by an opaque object of any shape. Interference fringes are obtained by bringing together two or more beams of light that have originated from a common source. This is usually accomplished by means of an apparatus especially designed for the purpose called an interferometer, although interference fringes may also be seen in nature. Examples are the colors in a soap film and in an oil film on water. See Diffraction, Interference of waves, Interferometry, Resolving power (optics)