Wave Front 

   The set of points in space reached by a wave or vibration at the same instant as the wave travels through a medium. Wave fronts generally form a continuous line or surface. The lines formed by crests of ripples on a pond, for example, correspond to curved wave fronts.

   Imagine two waves are running side by side. The waves are "in phase" which simple means that they crest at the same time. 

Connecting the two cresting waves together with and imaginary line.  Fill in the space in between the waves with bunch of waves "in phase" with to original waves.  That imaginary line  is the wave front, it's a line that  "connects" the peak of one wave to next wave. 

things you need to know about wave fronts 

  • Wave fronts represents the peak of the wave.  
  • Wave fronts move in the same direction as the wave 
  • The space between each wave front is one wave length 

Types of wave fronts 

Plane Waves: We tend to see plane waves every where.  Mathematical plane waves are simplest to work with.


Circular wave front : The easiest example of a plane wave is a stone dropped into a still pond.  The waves that are generated are raduial (meaning they move out in all directions) 


Spherical waves front:  Probable the most common type of wave front in the universe, electromagnetic radiation leaving the sun, or the sound wave created in a yell are types of this wave front.

 Ray Diagrams

  The ray is another way of representing a wave.  For a rays we no longer concern ourselves with each with wavelength, instead we only worry about direction.  

  • Rays point in the direction of the wave.
  • Rays are always perpendicular