What is Reflected light: Definition and 36 Discussions

Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated. Common examples include the reflection of light, sound and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.
In acoustics, reflection causes echoes and is used in sonar. In geology, it is important in the study of seismic waves. Reflection is observed with surface waves in bodies of water. Reflection is observed with many types of electromagnetic wave, besides visible light. Reflection of VHF and higher frequencies is important for radio transmission and for radar. Even hard X-rays and gamma rays can be reflected at shallow angles with special "grazing" mirrors.

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  1. Intel Xeon

    I Class debate: Everything we see is a result of reflected light

    Everything we see is a result of reflected light. True or False We had an all out war over this question. The question is not as easy as it seems. There are many valid arguments. It would be interesting to see any opinion or contribution to this argument.
  2. R

    180 degree phase shift of reflected light

    When light originating from a medium of lower refractive index reflects off a surface of higher refractive index, why does the phase shift by 180 degrees? Stokes relations show that reflection coefficients at the surface are equal but of opposite signs depending on direction of light (i.e...
  3. S

    Formula for maximum interference for reflected light (thin - film)

    The light comes from glass to boundary of glass and soap film, then there will be light which is reflected and transmitted. The reflected light has no phase shift and the transmitted light will hit the boundary of soap film and vacuum and the reflected light from this boundary will also has no...
  4. PainterGuy

    Brewster's angle and the intensity of reflected light

    Hi, Would it be correct to say that at Brewster's angle, all the incident light which has its electric field parallel to the plane of incidence gets refracted, and the rest of light whose electric field is perpendicular to the plane of incidence gets reflected? For example, if the light whose...
  5. Srihari05

    I Exploring Feynman's Theory on Reflection of Light from Glass Surfaces

    I recently started reading Feynmans book QED. There are a couple of questions I have regarding his theory on the percentage of light that is reflected of two surfaces of glass. My question is as follows, A piece of glass in fact has four surfaces. The front of the glass the back side of...
  6. R

    Light Reflection: Understand How Light Interacts with Materials

    Hello, I have a question or perhaps a few questions regarding light and mirrors. When we point light at a mirror, it gets reflected back. But we can see the point light (assuming that it is a laser for the sake of simplicity) at a surface opposite to the reflective surface of the mirror. What...
  7. A

    The thinnest film in which the reflected light will be a max

    Homework Statement Monochromatic light, at normal incidence, strikes a thin film in air. If λ denotes the wavelength in the film, what is the thinnest film in which the reflected light will be a maximum? A λ/4 B 3λ/4 C λ D much less than λ E λ/2...
  8. DavidReishi

    Is there a limit to the amount of info in reflected light?

    Sunlight hits our planet, for example, and reflects light outward back into space. Hence why photos can be taken of Earth from outer-space. But if we disregard technological limits to optics, etc., then in theory how much information does this reflected light contain? Is it rich enough, for...
  9. A

    What would the angle φ be for this deflected laser beam?

    Homework Statement The mirror in the image below deflects a horizontal laser by angle θ. What is the angle φ if θ = 60°. Homework Equations θi=θr The Attempt at a Solution So I know that, if I draw a line normal to the mirror, that will make it so that the incident angle and the reflected...
  10. J

    Index of refraction from reflected light (polarised)

    Homework Statement A beam of light is reflected from the surface of some unknown liquid, and the light is examined with a linear sheet polarizer. It is found that when the central axis of the polariser (that is, the perpendicular to the plane of the sheet) is tilted down from the vertical at an...
  11. L

    Reflected Light at 3D Angle: Shift in Polarization

    I've searched high and low for answers to this, and a friend of mine finally pointed me in the right direction. I decided to write a post about it so hopefully others who have the same question will find the answer more easily. When linearly polarized light is reflected at a 3D angle, the...
  12. 2

    Stargazing Understanding reflecting telescopes?

    I have been looking at these diagrams: From the following link http://www.astronomynotes.com/telescop/s3.htm And I just can't seem to figure out why the first telescope design doesn't show a shadow and in the second why the presence of the secondary mirror, and the hole, do not affect the...
  13. S

    Can reflected light help generate electricity with a solar panel?

    Can we use a mirror to reflect sun's light on a solar panel and generate electricity?
  14. D

    How can I show that the amplitude of a reflected wave?

    In Feynman Lectures on Physics (you can find it online), chapter 33 of volume 1, the author derives Fresnel's formulas for the coefficient of reflection in an unusual way by making considerations about the different possible polarization of light. In this way he derives the squares of the...
  15. S

    Why is the direction of reflected light different from that of refracted light?

    Homework Statement i can't understand why the reflected light has the direction of oscillating inside and outside of the page while the direction of refracted wave is upwards and downwards (perpendicuar to the plane of wave propagation. ) Can the direction of reflected light vibrate...
  16. F

    Optics Brewster's Angle Reflected Light Intesity

    Homework Statement An incident unpolarised light beam of intensity I_{0} strikes glass plate B at Brewster's Angle. The reflected light travels vertically and strikes a second glass plate A, again at Brewster's Angle. (We ignore the light transmitted by the glass plates.) Plate A is then...
  17. S

    Polarisation of reflected light

    Hi, I have a question regarding the projection of polarised light onto a screen, such as commonly used in 3D or VR cinemas. I'm only concerned with linearly polarised light for the moment. I understand that when light undergoes reflection the polarity is altered. I've attached a diagram...
  18. I

    Minimizing Reflected Light Wavelengths

    Hey there, I'm new here mainly because I realized how deficient my ability to think in Physics/Math based scenarios really is, plus if I'm going to stay in Premed I need to pass a Phys 101 course in 1st year. So, my question is this.. The windows in an office tower are coated with a film...
  19. N

    Brewster angle and reflected light

    Homework Statement Light polarised at 45° to the plane of incidence is incident on a smooth dielectric surface at the Brewster angle. State the polarisation of the reflected beam (relative to the plane of incidence). Homework Equations Brewster Angle - tan θ = n2/n1 The Attempt...
  20. G

    Reflection Patterns of Laser Light on Tilted Mirrors

    This may sound stupid, but why when I shine a laser pointer at a mirror and reflect in onto another mirror back and forth, the points of light make a parabola when the mirrors are tilted in such a way as to maximize the number of reflections happening? Tilting the mirror further or closer then...
  21. C

    Spectrometer setup to minimize absorption of reflected light

    I'm working on an experiment to measure the quenching of an oxygen-sensitive dye. The excitation light is blue and the light fluoresced is red. When I collect data, there is always a peak for blue and red, which makes it impossible to measure really the quenching in low dye concentrations...
  22. C

    Wavelengths / film / reflected light

    Homework Statement A film of MgF2 (n = 1.38) having thickness 1.44 x 10-5 cm is used to coat a camera lens. What are the three longest wavelengths that are intensified in the reflected light? (Enter your answers from smallest to largest.) Homework Equations λn = λ/n n = index of...
  23. D

    Reflected light from a polarizer

    Hi Folks, I have a general question. What happens to unpolarized light once it's reflected from a polarizer? My best guess is that it's polarized with opposite parity relative to the transmitted light with intensity varying as a function of angle of incidence. I think my answer applies...
  24. M

    Calculating Reflected Light Displacement in Glass

    Homework Statement A beam of light makes an angle of 26 o with the normal of a mirror made of 2.4- mm-thick glass silvered on the back. If the index of refraction of the glass is 1.50, how far is the point at which the beam leaves the glass surface (after being reflected from the silver...
  25. Z

    Phase shift of reflected light wave

    When a light wave move from a medium with lower refractive index to medium of higher refractive index, at the boundary, the reflected light wave will undergo a phase shift of ∏ rad. Compared to the transmitted light, the reflected light lead by ∏ rad or lag by ∏ rad?
  26. atomqwerty

    How Does Elliptical Polarization Affect Reflected Light Intensity and Phase?

    Homework Statement If light with ellyptical polarisation moves from a medium of a given refractive index n1 into a second medium with refractive index n2 (let be I the initial energy of the beam and θ the angle), calculate the polarisation state and the reflected intensity. Homework Equations...
  27. L

    Could we realistically see ancient images of the earth from reflected light?

    Could we realistically see ancient images of the Earth from reflected light? We know the speed of light and we know the distance of the Earth from the sun. Do we have the knowledge to predict the movements of light that we could take a reflection off the Earth that shines on a distant object...
  28. I

    Stargazing Eclipse, reflected light, Alternate Universe?

    Personal account It was 2004. I was looking up stuff on the computer. Where my computer sits I have a relatively clear view of the hallway. Out of the corner of my eye, a figure passes by my hallway. No one was home and this could not have been a substantial human being. The figure had...
  29. L

    Iinterference in thin films due to reflected light

    Homework Statement dear revered members, please find the attached image for the topic interference in thin films due to relection. Homework Equations my questions are 1) angle between the incident ray or reflected ray or refracted ray is called angle of incidence, angle of reflection...
  30. V

    Thinnest film in which the reflected light will be a maximum?

    Homework Statement Monochromatic light, at normal incidence, strikes a thin film in air. If (lambda) denotes the wavelength in the film, what is the thinnest film in which he reflected light will be a maximum? Homework Equations 2d = (m+1/2)(lambda/nfilm) for minimal reflection and 2d =...
  31. M

    How many bright fringes are seen in the reflected light

    Homework Statement Two optically flat plates of glass are separated at one end by a wire of diameter 0.210 mm; at the other end they touch. Thus, the air gap between the plates has a thickness ranging from 0 to 0.210 mm. The plates are 15.0 cm long and are illuminated from above with light of...
  32. S

    Radii of Bright Fringes in Reflected Light for Plano-Convex Lens

    Homework Statement A plano-convex glass lens of radius of curvature 2.6 m rests on an optically flat glass plate. The arrangement is illuminated from above with monochromatic light of 565-nm wavelength. The indexes of refraction of the lens and plate are 1.6. Determine the radii of the first...
  33. B

    The spectrum of reflected light from a planet question.

    Is the spectrum of reflected light of a planet the same as the spectrum of the star near it but just less in magnitude? Like when you do B(Lambda;T) for it you just multiply that answer by the albedo?
  34. B

    Albedo and reflected light from the moon

    Hi all, I'm looking for a way to calculate how much light is reflected from the surface, on the moon, and whether that light would be strong enough to be classed as a bright light source. I have no idea where to start with this, but basically I'm trying to prove a Lunar Hoax Conspiracy...
  35. K

    Interference fringes with reflected light

    Homework Statement A point source of light (λ = 589 nm) is placed 0.4 mm above the surface of a glass mirror. Interference fringes are observed on a screen 6m away, and the interference is coming from light reflecting off the mirror and light coming directly from the source. Find the...
  36. E

    Why do objects take on different color tones when placed near each other?

    Forgive me if this is a dumb question but, I know that when I see an object's "color" I'm really just seeing the wavelengths of light that weren't absorbed by that object's surface (right?). Why then do some colored objects (matte objects, not glossy objects) take on the different color...