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Light and matter interaction

  1. May 18, 2010 #1
    what makes a metal sheet to reflect light? why doesn't individual metal atom reflects light?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2010 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Simply put, metal reflects light because it is conductive. So when an electromagnetic wave(light) arrives at the surface of the metal, the electric field drives currents in the metal. These currents generate an electromagnetic wave traveling in the opposite direction of the incoming wave, which is the reflected wave.
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