How Can Light Transmission and Reflection Exceed 100% in an Optics Experiment?

In summary: You have a glass (or plastic) dish (like a small transparent dish). You shine light onto its flat surface.What is measured and how?What is measured and how?
  • #1
erisedk
374
7
You have a glass (or plastic) dish (like a small transparent dish). You shine light onto its flat surface. Your lab partner discovers that 55% of the light has been transmitted, 55% is reflected. What is the absorbance of the dish (not in the log scale, just as a regular %age)?
State a hypothesis and the way you would test it.

I was asked this today in an interview. This is what I said-

So, clearly the answer can't be -10, right, cos that just violates energy conservation.

So I think that the glass itself could have been in an excited state and therefore, when we shone light on it, it sort of got de-excited because of the collisions with the incoming light photons and therefore, we got more light than the total incoming light released.

Also, the way that we would test this hypothesis is by taking the glass thing into a vacuum, in darkness and with temperatures close to 0 K and measuring any electromagnetic radiation being emitted from the same.

We could measure that using a spectrometer sort of thing (like infrared glasses measure heat, and we can see bodies glowing).

This is what I said during the interview. The interviewer (when he'd asked me what I liked to do, I'd said I like to sit and think, and browse the internet) then said that I should now think up 9 more solutions to this problem since that's my favourite pastime and email it to him.

Other solutions I've thought of:

1. Maybe there's a semi-reflective surface behind the dish, off of which the transmitted light bounced, and went back through the dish, reading as reflected light.

2. Relativistic doppler effect could alter the intensity perceived by the glass.

Could there be any other answers?
 
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  • #2
erisedk said:
You have a glass (or plastic) dish (like a small transparent dish). You shine light onto its flat surface.
Why does the question say "dish" if only the flat part is investigated? Is the curved part not receiving any light? What exactly is measured, and how?
 
  • #3
A.T. said:
Why does the question say "dish" if only the flat part is investigated? Is the curved part not receiving any light? What exactly is measured, and how?
That's just what I remember of how he phrased it. It doesn't really have much significance. The curved part is receiving light. I just have a laser beam that I'm shining on a small glass dish.
 
  • #4
erisedk said:
The curved part is receiving light.
Can it focus the reflected / refracted light so you get increased intensity at the sensors?
 

Related to How Can Light Transmission and Reflection Exceed 100% in an Optics Experiment?

1. What is an optics thought experiment?

An optics thought experiment is a theoretical experiment designed to explore and test the principles and laws of optics. It involves imagining a hypothetical scenario and using logical reasoning to predict the outcome. It is a common tool used by scientists to understand complex concepts and phenomena.

2. How does an optics thought experiment work?

An optics thought experiment works by using a hypothetical situation to test and explore the properties and principles of light and its interaction with matter. It often involves simplifying real-world scenarios to make them easier to analyze and understand, allowing for the discovery of new insights and ideas.

3. What are the benefits of using optics thought experiments?

Optics thought experiments have several benefits, including providing a way to explore and understand complex concepts without the need for expensive equipment or real-life experimentation. They also allow for the testing of theoretical predictions and can lead to the discovery of new phenomena or solutions to problems.

4. Can optics thought experiments be used in other fields of science?

Yes, optics thought experiments can be applied to many other fields of science, such as physics, chemistry, and biology. In fact, many famous thought experiments, such as Schrödinger's cat, have helped advance our understanding of various scientific disciplines.

5. Are there any limitations to using optics thought experiments?

While optics thought experiments can be a valuable tool for understanding and exploring scientific concepts, they do have limitations. They cannot always accurately simulate real-world scenarios, and their predictions may not always align with experimental results. Additionally, they rely on the assumptions and logic of the person conducting the experiment, which may introduce bias or errors.

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