iridescence

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iridescence

(ĭr'ədĕs`əns), exhibition of rainbowlike colors on a surface. It usually results from interferenceinterference,
in physics, the effect produced by the combination or superposition of two systems of waves, in which these waves reinforce, neutralize, or in other ways interfere with each other.
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 when light composed of different wavelengths is reflected from the superficial layers of organic or inorganic substances, e.g., minerals, mother-of-pearl, and the feathers of birds. Iridescence greatly enhances the value of certain gems.

iridescence

[‚ir·ə′des·əns]
(optics)
A rainbow color effect exhibited in various bodies as a result of interference in a thin film (as of soap bubbles or mother of pearl) or of diffraction of light reflected from a ribbed surface (as of the plumage of some birds).

iridescence

The appearance of the rainbowlike colors that are occasionally observed in high clouds. Also known as irisation.