1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Why can some waves pass through materials but others can't

  1. Feb 12, 2008 #1

    Why can some waves pass through materials but others can't. Why can visible light go through glass but infra-red can't? I know it has to do with transmission but what is the fundamental processes? In as simple terms as possible? If anyone has any websites of books that might help please let me know.

    Thank you for your help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2008 #2
    Why do you think IR can't go through glass?
  4. Feb 12, 2008 #3
    I saw a picture of a hand behind a sheet of glass in IR. But I guess the reason why it can't see it is because the heat isn't transferred to the air?
  5. Feb 12, 2008 #4
    Are you near an incandescent light bulb? Turn it on and put your hand near it. Can you feel the heat?
  6. Feb 12, 2008 #5
    Well in that case when I put my hand under a sheet of glass can I not see it in the IR?
  7. Feb 12, 2008 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    i. is this HW question?
    ii. I dont belive this is upper undergraduate level question.

    You know that atoms of different kinds have different spectra, i.e the absorbtion lines are different for each element. The same holds for solids. Different solids absorbs Em rad at different wave lenghts. And this has to do with the so called band structure of the solid.



    So depending on what atoms the solid are made of etc, different band structures arieses. You can think of these bands as the "orbitals" of the electrons in an atom. The bands tell you what electron can have.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook