# Huygen's principle

1. Feb 14, 2008

### Physicsissuef

I want to know, when there is diffraction or refraction of light, are the atoms inside of the material releasing also waves in whole directions, like on this pictures:
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/5714/80472685hw1.jpg" [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
2. Feb 14, 2008

### Claude Bile

It is not atoms that release the wavelets, it's the wavefront itself.

Claude.

3. Feb 15, 2008

### Physicsissuef

Do the lattice atoms from inside of the material release waves?

4. Feb 17, 2008

### Physicsissuef

Anybody know?

5. Feb 17, 2008

### Claude Bile

Assuming that, by "release" you mean "emit"....

Any atom can emit waves through spontaneous or stimulated emission.

If, however a wave passes through a transparent medium, then it is incorrect (or, at best, misleading) to say that the atoms within the medium have "emitted" a wave.

Claude.

6. Feb 18, 2008

### Physicsissuef

But Huygen's principle can't explain what happens in the inner structure of the material, when there is transparent medium.
Is in mirrors, have total reflection, aren't there any refraction?

7. Mar 29, 2008

### Deathwing

With a mirror there is no refraction. It is completely refecting what hit it. I'm sure some energy gets absorbed in the process.

8. Mar 29, 2008

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
I am having a bit of a problem understanding why you want to "merge" Huygen's principle with actual QM description of optical transport in matter (which you can learn from solid state/condensed matter physics, or in our FAQ). Huygen's principle, as we know it now, is more of a "phenomenological model" of classical optics. There are many aspects of such models that will simply not work when you try to incorporate atoms and matter into such things.

Zz.

9. Mar 29, 2008

### Physicsissuef

Yes, I also thought that it is just one model for describing what happens when there is reflection or refraction. Anyway, I have read so many articles, is it light EM wave, particle or mixture of both?

10. Mar 29, 2008

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus