Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Scattering and wavelength dependence

  1. Feb 20, 2008 #1
    i don't know why the longer the wavelenght, the easier for it to be sattered ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Welcome to PF, Coke.
    I have pretty much zero knowledge of optics, but I would suspect that it's simply because longer wavelengths are less energetic. Red light, therefore, would be more likely to be 'diluted' than blue.
    There are quite a few guys here who know an awful lot more about the subject, and they'll be with you shortly.
  4. Feb 20, 2008 #3

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It's not always true that longer wavelengths are scattered more. In fact, the sky appears blue because shorter wavelengths are scattered more efficiently in the atmosphere.

    In any case, the question can be simply "How does scattering depend on wavelength"? And the answer to that would fill several books. For atmospheric scattering (particles that are much smaller than a wavelength), the scattering efficiency goes as 1/(wavelength)^4. For spheres of arbitrary size, the scattering goes as 1/x^2, where x = radius/wavelength (Mie scattering).
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?