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Mirror sphere

  1. Jul 2, 2004 #1


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    It may seem to be a stupid question but please take a serious look at it:
    1) (hypothetical):
    Imagine a perfect hollow orb (ball, sphere...) of some heatproof material - inside metallized to reflect most wavelenghts of light (a one-way-mirror). Assumed a perfect vaccum inside: what happens if you put this ball into sunlight?

    2) (practical):
    Constructing an octahedron (or even more sides) of one-way-mirrors and optimizing the design could lead to objects even more efficient in transmuting sun energy than solar cells, couldn't it? I think thermal balance of such an object would be reached at relative high temperatures. Do I miss something in my considerations or am I completely naive thinking?

    3) (simplified):
    Consider a setup of 2 parallel mirrors - one of them being one-way: projecting a laser beam through the one-way-mirror: what happens if the laser is projecting continously?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2004 #2


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    Science Advisor

    One way mirrors don't work the way you think they do. They do not pass light preferentially in one direction, and reflect it in the other. One side of a mirror has no light source, so the light coming through is all that is noticed. From that side it looks like a window. The other side of the mirror has light sources, so the bulk of the light seen by people on that side is reflected. They see it as a mirror.

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