What is it that makes light rebound off a surface?

In summary, The law of reflection states that when a particle or ray of light hits a surface, it will bounce off at an angle equal to the angle at which it hit the surface. This is due to electromagnetic repulsion between the particles, and it can be observed in everyday life through the law of reflection.
  • #1
jeebs
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When we fire a particle at a surface it can bounce off, with the angle of incidence being equal to the angle of reflection. It's clear why this happens - electromagnetic repulsion due to the electrons of the two things getting too close, right? What about light though? We can fire a ray of light at a surface, some of it will go past the surface into the medium, some of it will be reflected. Why is this so?
There is nothing to "repel" the photon (unless I've grossly overlooked something), so what's going on here?
Is it maybe something to do with the electrons in the atoms absorb some energy from the incoming wave, which changes its wavelength and it passes through some gap between adjacent atoms that diffracts it or changes its direction somehow? although, if this was the case, how would that explain the way that the ray's direction bends back the other way when it exits the far side of the material...
 
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  • #2
The law of reflection states that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. The angle of incidence is the angle at which a ray of light hits a surface. The angle of reflection is the angle at which the light leaves the surface. The law of reflection states that these two angles are the same. The law of reflection can be observed when playing billiards or using a mirror. The law of reflection also states that the angle of incidence is the same as the angle of reflection. The law of reflection was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton.
 

Related to What is it that makes light rebound off a surface?

1. What is light rebound?

Light rebound, also known as reflection, is the phenomenon where light bounces off a surface after hitting it. This results in the light changing direction and continuing to travel.

2. What makes light rebound off a surface?

The rebound of light is caused by the interaction between the photons (particles of light) and the atoms or molecules of the surface. When light hits a surface, the photons transfer their energy to the atoms, causing them to vibrate and emit new photons in different directions, resulting in the reflection of light.

3. Why does light rebound at different angles?

The angle at which light rebounds off a surface depends on the angle at which it hits the surface. This is known as the law of reflection, which states that the angle of incidence (incoming light ray) is equal to the angle of reflection (reflected light ray). This means that the angle of rebound can vary depending on the orientation of the surface.

4. Can light rebound off any surface?

Yes, light can rebound off any surface, as long as it is not completely transparent or completely absorbent. The amount of light that is reflected off a surface depends on its texture, color, and angle of incidence. Smooth and shiny surfaces tend to reflect more light, while rough and dark surfaces absorb more light.

5. How does the rebound of light affect our perception of objects?

The rebound of light is crucial for our perception of objects, as it allows us to see and distinguish different objects and their features. The color, texture, and shape of an object are all determined by how light is reflected off its surface. Without light rebound, our world would appear dark and featureless.

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