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Behavior of Photons During Reflection.

  1. Jul 19, 2011 #1
    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?


    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2
    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.
  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3
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