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Does dispersion of light occur in reflection?

  1. Dec 14, 2012 #1
    During refraction the different colors that white light is composed of are dispersed but does this happen during reflection or total internal reflection?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2012 #2


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    Dispersion happens because index of refraction depends on wavelength. Since reflection angle doesn't depend on refraction index, there is no dispersion.

    The only exception is if you are right there at the critical angle. You can have a situation where the particular angle is just under critical for some wavelengths and just over for others. You still won't get actual dispersal, but now the transmitted and reflected light can have different spectra.
  4. Dec 15, 2012 #3
    Thanks :)
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