Behavior of Photons During Reflection.

  • Thread starter Infrasound
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Which of the following is consistent with experiment/observation.

When light is reflected off of a material, what happens to the photon?

A. Is it absorbed by the electron or lattice and then re-emitted?

OR

B. Does it somehow just reflect/bounce off the electron/lattice? Kind of like a ball bouncing off of a wall?

Maybe neither?

Thanks in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It's kind of both. It happens like B but is really A.

The electrons of the conductor are set in motion by the incident magnetic field. (remember, the electric field along a conductor is zero.)

This motion results in the immediate radiation of new photons. But it's not really an absorbed-then-reemitted process like it is with electronic transitions. The absorption and reemission are concurrent.
 

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