Any Conceptual Underpinning for Partial Reflection of Light (QED)

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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 question is whether, on a very high level, there is any good model for partial reflection off of one surface? I understand the point that light is reacting with the entire block of glass and not just the surface--what I'd like to understand is whether this phenomenon equivalent to "wave-particle" duality (in that there are concrete equations to describe the behavior that just are not easily interpretable in the classical realm), or is it even less understood than that and it's just a phenomenon that's experimentally observed and no good model at all exists for why it happens?

In sum, if someone asked me for an example of quantum mechanical effects in everyday life, could I just point to partial reflection off a nearby window and say it's a complete mystery?


Last edited:

Meir Achuz

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I think classical EM waves account nicely for partial reflection by two surfaces.
Just use the wave equation and the boundary conditions.

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