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Phase shift upon reflection of electromagnetic wave

  1. Feb 23, 2013 #1
    I have indirectly sought the answer to this for some time (since I studied an introductory course in optics 'long' ago), but nobody has been able to give a satisfactory answer, and I have not been able to find the exact answer on the Internet either.

    My question is about optics, and more precise about reflections at a boundary. I am familiar with the conditions for phase shift upon reflection etc., and the only thing I wonder is:

    When a wave (since we are talking about the wave interpretation of light) is inverted upon reflection, what happens exactly at the point of reflection? If there is a sudden phase shift, then there must be a discontinuity in the electric field of the wave, unless of course it is reflected at the point of its node at all times. This would imply that the point of reflection is moving back and forth in an interval of length λ/2, which would not go well with the electromagnetic waves with longer wavelengths.

    I have seen the mathematical expression for this, so a restatement of that would not answer my question properly, unforunately.

    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2013 #2
    Re: Phaseshift upon reflection of electromagnetic wave

    See here: http://physics.stackexchange.com/qu...es-on-reflection-from-optically-denser-medium
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