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

Where did the light go?

  1. Aug 15, 2007 #1
    Do atomic particles absorb light, or reflect them?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2007 #2

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Adsorb, then re-emit at possibily different wavelengths.
     
  4. Aug 15, 2007 #3

    Claude Bile

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There are lots of ways atoms interact with light, the probability of a particular interaction occuring depends on the wavelength of the light and the optical properties of the object that the light is interacting with.

    Claude.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2007 #4
    Assuming we have just one electron, at what wavelength of the electro-magnetic wave it can penetrate through the electron?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  6. Aug 16, 2007 #5

    Claude Bile

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    A single unbound electron will scatter the incoming wave like crazy, no matter what the wavelength is (some scattered radiation can be regarded as having "passed through" the electron). This is because an unbound electron has a continuum of energy states, as opposed to discrete energy states possessed by an electron bound to a parent atom.

    Claude.
     
  7. Aug 17, 2007 #6
    Allright. Imagine I have a theoretical microscope that is powerful enough to see upto the subatomic particle level. If I look at an oxygen atom through that microscope, and if I bombard that nucleus with just one photon, what difference would I see? Similarly, if I bombard an electron in the oxygen atom with a photon, what would I see?

    well, I might not see anything, unless that photon reflected back to my retina; my concern is what change happened to the particle and to the photon?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2007
  8. Aug 20, 2007 #7

    Claude Bile

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The photons from such a powerful microscope would ionise anything they touched.

    Claude.
     
  9. Aug 20, 2007 #8
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?