Photons passing through transparent material

  • Thread starter Garlic
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  • #1
Garlic
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Transparent materials such as glass can let visible light pass through nearly undisturbed. I don't understand how photons just pass through atoms in that material. I can understand the concept of atoms not absorbing the photons in that specific wavelengths, but how can photons avoid deflection by hitting other particles? (I'm not talking about deflection of light in different media)
 

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  • #2
Chandra Prayaga
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The wavelength of visible light is 500 nm and the size of an atom is about 0.1 nm. That means that visible light does not interact with individual atoms, but with much larger groups. So the interaction is not like a collision and deflection. The interaction is by the photon inducing a polarization in the material, and the material re-radiating at the same frequency. This does not include some scattering processes which do change the frequency slightly.
 
  • #3
Garlic
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The wavelength of visible light is 500 nm and the size of an atom is about 0.1 nm. That means that visible light does not interact with individual atoms, but with much larger groups. So the interaction is not like a collision and deflection. The interaction is by the photon inducing a polarization in the material, and the material re-radiating at the same frequency. This does not include some scattering processes which do change the frequency slightly.
Thank you, that really helped!
 

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