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Metal invisible in the ultraviolet?

  1. Apr 30, 2007 #1
    I was reading the plasmon chapter of my solid state physics book and it says simple metals should reflect light in the visible region and transmit it in the ultraviolet, roughly speaking. (I think I read in a paper that for some metals, like Au and Cu, the threshold wavelength is in the visible, which contributes to their color.) Does this mean that, given ultraviolet goggles, one could see through metal? Does anyone know where to find pictures of this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2007 #2


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    If it is thin enough.

    Off the top of my head, what you dealing with here is the plasma cutoff frequency. Below this frequency, EM radiation does not get transmitted and instead, gets reflected. However, above that frequency, the plasma does not oscillate fast enough to cause complete attenuation of the EM wave and thus, it can start transmitting through.

    However, this model only considers the electrons in metals as being a "simple" plasma without any regards to the lattice ions. At some point, the lattice ions vibration modes (the phonons) will come into play. So this will affect the transmission capability, especially if the EM radiation has to pass through a thicker distance though the metal.

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