# Metal reflects light & Antenna absorbs light & cuircuit

• ugenetic
In summary: The 180 degree phase shift is best explained by the Boundary Conditions on the surface of the (perfect) conductor. There can be no volt drop across the surface so the re radiated wave will be in anti phase to the incident wave. The currents across the surface will have the 'appropriate' phase to achieve this. The same argument applies for any wave hitting any surface (sound. ocean etc.).
ugenetic
Hi Forum,

Couple of pheromone here:

Metal reflects EM waves (visible light and lower)
Antenna absorbs EM waves
electrical circuit reflects high frequency signals inside the circuit
electrical wire with the right length and right signal becomes an open-circuit/Antenna

I think my question is: What/why is reflection? from an electron's point of view, does circuit reflecting voltage and metal reflecting em waves have the same fundamental governing principle?

ugenetic said:
electrical circuit reflects high frequency signals inside the circuit

never heard that before ... doesn't sound right, where did you hear that ?

ugenetic said:
Couple of pheromone here:

pheromone

noun
ZOOLOGY

1. a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal, especially a mammal or an insect, affecting the behavior or physiology of others of its species.

I think you got owned by spell check...

To answer your question, yes. In both cases the electromagnetic wave moves electrons. The moving electrons radiate a new wave, that is, the reflected wave. In the case of a radio antenna / receiver the receiver absorbs most of the energy before it can be re-radiated.

Thank you, so, what's the magic that decides absorption or reflection? I don't need to the exact formulas or magic numbers like quarter or half wavelength, but the underlying principle. Thanks

To vastly oversimplify it, the underlying principle is impedance. All homogenous materials have a characteristic impedance (frequency-dependent)- that of free space is uniquely almost exactly 377 Ohms (notice- same unit as resistance) over the whole spectrum. When electromagnetic waves encounter the boundary between two media (air and metal, for instance) with a strong difference (or "mismatch" in antenna terminology) they are reflected *unless* the physical dimensions of the boundary allow the incoming photons to resonate, inducing currents in the metal, which is what absorption really is. The same principle allows EM to exit an antenna. Notice it's the same principle behind optics at visible frequencies.

MarkPercival said:
To vastly oversimplify it, the underlying principle is impedance. All homogenous materials have a characteristic impedance (frequency-dependent)- that of free space is uniquely almost exactly 377 Ohms (notice- same unit as resistance) over the whole spectrum. When electromagnetic waves encounter the boundary between two media (air and metal, for instance) with a strong difference (or "mismatch" in antenna terminology) they are reflected *unless* the physical dimensions of the boundary allow the incoming photons to resonate, inducing currents in the metal, which is what absorption really is. The same principle allows EM to exit an antenna. Notice it's the same principle behind optics at visible frequencies.

Thank you, I think that was a very interesting generalization, I will look into it.

However, I was really hoping for a more electron-photon kind of explanation. vaguely I can recall that EM on Metal reflection is governed by some sort of calculation so that EM will be re-radiated from the Metal with 180 degrees phase shift. Could some one point me to a good internet link for that?

Last edited:
If you do not load an antenna then no energy will be absorbed. - just as with a piece of metal There is no paradox or contradiction here because you are specifying two entirely different situations.
If an incident wave causes charges to flow (electrons to 'vibrate', in a crude model) and there is no energy absorbed due to some resistance, an EM wave will be re-emitted. Some energy will be stored reactively in the 'structure'.

sophiecentaur said:
If you do not load an antenna then no energy will be absorbed. - just as with a piece of metal There is no paradox or contradiction here because you are specifying two entirely different situations.
If an incident wave causes charges to flow (electrons to 'vibrate', in a crude model) and there is no energy absorbed due to some resistance, an EM wave will be re-emitted. Some energy will be stored reactively in the 'structure'.

Excellent, thanks. That makes more sense. So , how do we explain the 180 degree phase shift? could you point me to a good place with some mathematical formulations?

ugenetic said:
Excellent, thanks. That makes more sense. So , how do we explain the 180 degree phase shift? could you point me to a good place with some mathematical formulations?
The 180 degree phase shift is best explained by the Boundary Conditions on the surface of the (perfect) conductor. There can be no volt drop across the surface so the re radiated wave will be in anti phase to the incident wave. The currents across the surface will have the 'appropriate' phase to achieve this. The same argument applies for any wave hitting any surface (sound. ocean etc.).
If you want to read more then I suggest you Google terms like em wave reflections and pick out a reference that suits your level of understanding. There are many different levels of presentation and you are the best person to choose an appropriate one.

ugenetic
sophiecentaur said:
The 180 degree phase shift is best explained by the Boundary Conditions on the surface of the (perfect) conductor. There can be no volt drop across the surface so the re radiated wave will be in anti phase to the incident wave. The currents across the surface will have the 'appropriate' phase to achieve this. The same argument applies for any wave hitting any surface (sound. ocean etc.).
If you want to read more then I suggest you Google terms like em wave reflections and pick out a reference that suits your level of understanding. There are many different levels of presentation and you are the best person to choose an appropriate one.

Thank you, I found it!

## 1. How does metal reflect light?

Metal reflects light due to its high electrical conductivity and smooth surface. When light waves hit the surface of the metal, they cause the free electrons in the metal to vibrate, producing an electric current. This electric current then creates an electromagnetic field that reflects the light waves back in the same direction they came from.

## 2. Why does an antenna absorb light?

An antenna absorbs light because it is designed to capture and convert electromagnetic waves, including light, into electrical signals. The antenna is made up of conductive materials that allow it to absorb the energy from the incoming light waves and convert it into an electric current.

## 3. How does an antenna work in a circuit?

In a circuit, an antenna works by receiving or transmitting electromagnetic signals. When connected to a circuit, the antenna acts as a conductor and allows the flow of electrical current. The electrical current in the antenna is then converted into electromagnetic waves and transmitted or received by the antenna.

## 4. Can metal reflect light of all wavelengths?

Yes, metal can reflect light of all wavelengths, including visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet. The ability of metal to reflect light depends on its surface properties and the angle at which the light hits the surface. Generally, smoother and more polished metal surfaces reflect light more efficiently.

## 5. Can an antenna absorb all types of light?

No, an antenna can only absorb certain types of light, specifically electromagnetic waves. These waves include radio waves, microwaves, infrared, and visible light. The type of light that an antenna can absorb depends on its design and the materials used to construct it.

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