What determines how light is reflected

  • Thread starter Sea Cow
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  • #1
Sea Cow
What is it exactly about a surface that makes it reflect or absorb some or all wavelengths of light?
 

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  • #2
ZapperZ
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What is it exactly about a surface that makes it reflect or absorb some or all wavelengths of light?

1. the presence of conduction electrons
2. the nature of the phonon modes in the material

Zz.
 
  • #3
Andy Resnick
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Alternatively, the index of refraction.
 
  • #4
Sea Cow
1. the presence of conduction electrons
2. the nature of the phonon modes in the material

Zz.
Forgive me if I am being thick, but could you explain point 2. more? What is it about the phonon modes? For instance, if a surface just reflects a particular colour, is that because the phonon vibrates at the same frequency as that colour? If so, how does that stop the light from being absorbed?

Thankyou for your patience.
 

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