What is Reflection of light: Definition and 44 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. hagopbul

    I have a question about the mathematical model of a reflective curve

    Hello : Have a question regarding the mathematical model of reflective curve where could i find information on it ? (pdf , webpages , ebooks ,...etc ) Other than Wikipedia Best Regards HB
  2. Dom Tesilbirth

    The magnetic phase change of an electromagnetic wave during reflection

    If the question had mentioned ##\overrightarrow{E}## instead of ##E_\bot##, then we could have used ##\overrightarrow{B}=\dfrac{1}{v}\widehat{k}\times \overrightarrow{E}## to get the direction of the magnetic field. But the question had only mentioned ##E_\bot##. To my understanding, knowing...
  3. wnvl2

    I Reichenbach Synchronisation: Proving i=r

    I use Reichenbach synchronisation. The one-way speed of light (OWSOL) in the x and y-direction is ##\frac{c}{2\epsilon}## and in the reverse direction it is for both ##\frac{c}{2(1-\epsilon)}## such that the average round trip speed of light is ##c##. For any choice of ##\epsilon## the physical...
  4. S

    Understanding Reflection of Light on a Concave Mirror

    My Basic Question is- Why can we see our inverted and real image inside a concave mirror when the image is formed in front of it and not behind? If you say that our eyes tries to image the real image formed by mirror on the mirror itself then- Imagine a situation where we have a concave mirror...
  5. F

    B Is it true that QED explains the reflection of light?

    About a month or two ago I posted this question in the "Classical Physics" forum: if the light doesn't interact with an electromagnetic field, then which force explains light reflection in a mirror? I didn't get a clear answer for that (besides advice to buy a book from Feynmann), so I went on...
  6. D

    How Does Thin Film Interference Affect Light Reflection?

    Homework Statement: Light with wave length 648 nm in air is incident perpendicularly from air on a film 8.76 micrometers think and with refractive index 1.35. par of the light is reflected from the first surface of the film, and part enters the film and is reflected back at the second surface...
  7. 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...
  8. DaTario

    Reflection of light in metallic surface and glass

    Hi All, Due to the differences in their conductivities, but considering that both the metallic and the glass plane surfaces produce mirror images of objects, is there any difference in the explanation of the mechanism of reflection of light in these materials?
  9. C

    Is this image of a polarizer misleading?

    On this wire grid polarizer the wires are less wide than one wavelength of the incoming radiation. Is it possible to achieve a specular reflection from a single wire as shown on the image? What about reflection in the plane of length of the wire and the plane perpendicular to it (as shown)? Or...
  10. V

    B Reflection of light from the mirror

    What is exactly happening when the light hit a surface of a mirror? I know it is not same as a bounce of ball from the wall, because of constant speed of light for example. So I suppose the light is absorbed by electron of reflecting material. This probably define the materials who are...
  11. I

    The Contrary Laws of Reflection

    So, I was just working out on color and reflection but then turned a little bit confused. The main phenomenon we study everywhere is that a colored object absorbs light of all wavelengths excepting the light of its own color. Then comes the problem. As per that, if I beam a GREEN LASER on a RED...
  12. K

    How do interference and AR coatings work?

    How does AR coating works on cameras? How do they decrease reflection? And how does it improve the quality?
  13. Pushoam

    We see colour of an object due to reflection of light.

    Homework Statement How to demonstrate that we see colour of an object due to reflection of light? Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution We see an object because photons from that object come to our eyes. The photons from the object comes to us due to radiation or reflection. If the...
  14. D

    Fresnel zone and reflection of light on surfaces

    In a Scientific American article from 1968 in which he explains classically how light interacts with matter, Victor Weisskopf states that "the reflection of light on the surface of a solid or liquid involves only the oscillators (electrons) located in a small, pillbox-shaped volume at the...
  15. R

    Simple (?) question regarding reflection of light

    Does natural light when it hits an object cause transition of electrons between energy states and depending on the chemical composition of the material (hence the size of the transition) determine which colour we see? So everything around us is emitting light (photons)? Everything around us is...
  16. D

    What is the Velocity of a Bullet Reflected by a Plane Mirror?

    A gun of mass 'M' fires a bullet of mass 'm' with a horizontal velocity 'v'. The gun is fitted with a plane mirror facing towards the receding bullet. Find the velocity relative to its image just after the gun is fired.
  17. M

    Reflection of Light by Oil on Water

    Right, so, I am new to this, so please excuse me if I make a glaring error. Say there is can of water with a layer on oil on the surface. Light (of lambda=590nm) is shone straight down on the oil. How do I find out the thickness of the oil layer that would most strongly reflect the light?
  18. J

    Any Conceptual Underpinning for Partial Reflection of Light (QED)

    Any Conceptual Underpinning for Partial Reflection of Light (QED)? I recently partially read Feynman's QED. At one point, he says "The situation today is, we haven't got a good model to explain partial reflection by two surfaces;..." (page 24--can visit Amazon "Look Inside" to read) My...
  19. S

    Reflection of Light ~ Mirror on one side, surveillance on the other.

    Question In many department stores, large plane mirrors have been placed high on walls or on projections from ceilings. These may be one-way mirrors that are designed to allow one-way surveillance of the store. From one side, this surface looks like a mirror, but from the other side, the...
  20. 2

    How does the reflection of light work?

    Hello. How does light get reflected? Do photons act like balls which bounce off a surface? If I shoot a single photon which has a frequency of an orange color, and that photon hits a tomato, it should get absorbed, right? What if it hits an orange? Will it bounce off an atom? How does that...
  21. E

    Reflection of Light off of an Atom

    If a photon is not absorbed by an atom during collision, what determines the direction of the reflected photon? Explicitly... Does the photon reflect off of the valence probability 'shell' by abiding angle of incidence = angle of reflection? This seems counter-intuitive to me because some...
  22. K

    Mirror Image Distance: Exploring the Law of Reflection

    Homework Statement How far behind the mirror is the image of an object that is located in front of a flat (plane) mirror? Why do you think the image produced by a flat (plane) mirror is called a virtual image Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution
  23. S

    Reflection of light with known refractive index.

    This is for my 1st year undergrad course but it feels quite basic and not worthy of the 'Advanced Physics' section. Yet there's one thing I'm confused about - I have the answer, just something I don't understand. Homework Statement Light falls normally on a glass surface. What fraction of the...
  24. V

    Reflection of light through a wine glass with water

    Hello, I came across something interesting on the internet. I saw an image in which a wine glass was half filled with water and put in the middle of the two different colored backgrounds. In the air portion within the glass, the two backgrounds were visible through the glass, however; in the...
  25. D

    Refraction and Reflection of light

    7. (a) A material having an index of refraction n = 1.30 is used as an antireflective coating on glass with an index of refraction n = 1.50 as shown. (i) What is the phase shift for the reflection at the interface between air and the coating (interface 1)? (ii) What is the phase shift...
  26. T

    Phenomena of reflection of light

    I wonder why is there a gap at the starting of the reflected light when i conduct this experiment? Can anybody explain this to me? Thanks!
  27. S

    Calculate Distance Light Travels in Reflection from Light Fibre

    Homework Statement A ray of light enters a light fibre so that it hits the side at an angle of 16° with the long axis of the fiber, . Calculate the distance the light ray travels between successive reflections off the side of the fibre. Assume that the fibre is 1.03x10-4 m in diameter...
  28. T

    Solving Reflection of Light: P, Q, R Disappear Order

    Homework Statement Three objects P, Q, and R, are viewed through a plane mirror AB. When an obstacle is moved towards the mirror, which object "disappears" (i) first; (ii) last? Diagram. I will describe it in words. The mirror is horizontally placed. Q is placed 10 cm directly above edge...
  29. M

    What is the minimum thickness that would minimize reflection of light

    Homework Statement A transparent film (n = 1.5) is deposited on a glass lens (n = 1.65) to form a nonreflective coating. What is the minimum thickness that would minimize reflection of light with wavelength 500 nm in air? Homework Equations 2nt = mλ n = refractive index of film t =...
  30. E

    QED: reflection of light in glass

    Hello, This is my first post to physicsforums. I hope I've picked the right forum for this question, please correct me if not :blushing: To answer my question you'll have to have the book "QED, the strange theory of light and matter" in front of your eyes. I'm now reading Feynman's QED...
  31. C

    Reflection of light off 4 90 degree mirrors

    Hi Part 1 If I shot a laser beam into a square box where each wall is a perfect mirror and the box is filled with a vacuum and devoid of any other material that could interfere with the light beam apart from the perfect mirrors. Q/ Would that light beam continue to bounce around forever...
  32. M

    Reflection of Light: Exploring Electron Behavior

    As I understand that the electrons absorb the radiation and then re-radiate a part (or color) towards the incoming radiation is called reflection. However, if the frequency of radiation absorbed and re-radiated is dependent on the electron state, how does a faithful reflection of all visible...
  33. M

    Reflection of light off film, wavelength and thickness?

    What is the thinnest film of MgF2 (n = 1.39) on glass that produces a strong reflection for light with a wavelength of 680 nm? This is the exact question I am faced with. I didn't really know where to begin so I tried using the ratio of n-air/wavelength to n-film/(new wavelength) to try and...
  34. D

    Minimizing Reflection of Light: Coating Glass with n = 1.44

    A material with an index of refraction of 1.44 is used to coat glass. The index of refraction of glass is 1.5. What is the minimum thickness of the coating that will minimize the reflection of light with a wavelength of 4680 A? Answer in units of µm. I know that the thickness for this is t =...
  35. M

    How Do You Calculate Light Refraction Angles Through Quartz?

    (SOLVED) Calculator Entry ErrorAngles of Reflection of Light A ray of light strikes a flat 2.00 cm thick block of fused quartz (n = 1.458) at an angle of θ = 27.0° with the normal (Fig. P22.18). Trace the light beam through the fused quartz and find the angles of incidence and refraction at...
  36. T

    Reflection of light - the physics of a mirror

    How does reflecting of a light works? In physics people keep talking about mirrors in lasers and optics, etc. but how does mirror works at sub-atomic level? Does the light wave simply excite the electron which then sends identical wave in opposite direction? Or does it simply bumps off a...
  37. P

    What happens with the atoms, while reflection of light?

    what happens with the atoms, while there is reflection of light? What happens with the electrons or protons, are they reflecting the light and how?
  38. T

    Why Does Light Reflect? - Unraveling the Mystery

    Why does light reflect? I know that it does, and the rules and uses connected with this, but WHY does the em wave actually change direction on hitting a shiny surface? Is it at an atomic level? Cheers Tom H
  39. S

    Reflection of Light: Understanding the Angle of Incidence & Reflection

    If reflection of light is an interaction with atoms how we get always angle i=angle r?
  40. T

    Finding the Angle of Incidence in a Plane Mirror: Reflection of Light Homework

    Homework Statement A person stands 3.6m in front of a wall that is covered floor to ceiling with a plane mirror. His eyes are 1.8m above the floor. He holds a flashlight between his feet and manages to point it at the mirror. At what angel of incidence must the light strike the mirror so...
  41. N

    Reflection of light upon ourselves

    I was thinking... When you shine a light in a mirror, the surface is reflective enough to produce a smooth image. Are we reflections of light, or does light simply shine on us to light us up? It would seem like when light hits mass, it is reflected, which produces the images that we see. And if...
  42. P

    Proving the Reflection of Light Ray from Parabolic Mirror on x-Axis

    I'm hopelessly stuck on this question. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Prove that if we have a parabolic mirror with focus at F and axis of symmetry the x-axis, then a light ray emmited from F will be reflected parallel to the x-axis. To prove this consider the parabola y^2=4px (where...
  43. P

    Exploring Reflection of Light: What is the Path of an Individual Photon?

    I have been reading Feynmanns 'QED' and am trying to understand what happens when light is reflected from a surface. I would be grateful if someone could answer the following question. I am not sure which of these views (if any) is correct. 1) When light is reflected from a surface a photon...
  44. K

    Exploring the Reflection of Light on a Piece of Paper

    imagine that i have a pair of LEDs throwing light on the same point on a piece of paper. This is possible if the LEDs are inclined equally at an angle to the normal coming out of paper, right? now if i consider two rays hitting the paper at the same point, then where can i explain the...