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Fatima Akter
Fatima Akter

How Does Light Travel Light Is Absorbed, Reflected Or Refracted!


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Light Is Absorbed, Reflected Or Refracted!


Light waves across the electromagnetic spectrum behave in similar ways. When a light wave encounters an object, they are either transmitted, reflected, absorbed, refracted, polarized, diffracted, or scattered depending on the composition of the object and the wavelength of the light.


The color of an object is actually the wavelengths of the light reflected while all other wavelengths are absorbed. Color, in this case, refers to the different wavelengths of light in the visible light spectrum perceived by our eyes. The physical and chemical composition of matter determines which wavelength (or color) is reflected.


Refraction is when light waves change direction as they pass from one medium to another. Light travels slower in air than in a vacuum, and even slower in water. As light travels into a different medium, the change in speed bends the light. Different wavelengths of light are slowed at different rates, which causes them to bend at different angles.


We have previously learned that visible light waves consist of a continuous range of wavelengths or frequencies. When a light wave with a single frequency strikes an object, a number of things could happen. The light wave could be absorbed by the object, in which case its energy is converted to heat. The light wave could be reflected by the object. And the light wave could be transmitted by the object. Rarely however does just a single frequency of light strike an object. While it does happen, it is more usual that visible light of many frequencies or even all frequencies is incident towards the surface of objects. When this occurs, objects have a tendency to selectively absorb, reflect or transmit light certain frequencies. That is, one object might reflect green light while absorbing all other frequencies of visible light. Another object might selectively transmit blue light while absorbing all other frequencies of visible light. The manner in which visible light interacts with an object is dependent upon the frequency of the light and the nature of the atoms of the object. In this section of Lesson 2 we will discuss how and why light of certain frequencies can be selectively absorbed, reflected or transmitted.


Reflection and transmission of light waves occur because the frequencies of the light waves do not match the natural frequencies of vibration of the objects. When light waves of these frequencies strike an object, the electrons in the atoms of the object begin vibrating. But instead of vibrating in resonance at a large amplitude, the electrons vibrate for brief periods of time with small amplitudes of vibration; then the energy is reemitted as a light wave. If the object is transparent, then the vibrations of the electrons are passed on to neighboring atoms through the bulk of the material and reemitted on the opposite side of the object. Such frequencies of light waves are said to be transmitted. If the object is opaque, then the vibrations of the electrons are not passed from atom to atom through the bulk of the material. Rather the electrons of atoms on the material's surface vibrate for short periods of time and then reemit the energy as a reflected light wave. Such frequencies of light are said to be reflected.


The color of the objects that we see is largely due to the way those objects interact with light and ultimately reflect or transmit it to our eyes. The color of an object is not actually within the object itself. Rather, the color is in the light that shines upon it and is ultimately reflected or transmitted to our eyes. We know that the visible light spectrum consists of a range of frequencies, each of which corresponds to a specific color. When visible light strikes an object and a specific frequency becomes absorbed, that frequency of light will never make it to our eyes. Any visible light that strikes the object and becomes reflected or transmitted to our eyes will contribute to the color appearance of that object. So the color is not in the object itself, but in the light that strikes the object and ultimately reaches our eye. The only role that the object plays is that it might contain atoms capable of selectively absorbing one or more frequencies of the visible light that shine upon it. So if an object absorbs all of the frequencies of visible light except for the frequency associated with green light, then the object will appear green in the presence of ROYGBIV. And if an object absorbs all of the frequencies of visible light except for the frequency associated with blue light, then the object will appear blue in the presence of ROYGBIV.


Consider the two diagrams below. The diagrams depict a sheet of paper being illuminated with white light (ROYGBIV). The papers are impregnated with a chemical capable of absorbing one or more of the colors of white light. Such chemicals that are capable of selectively absorbing one or more frequency of white light are known as pigments. In Example A, the pigment in the sheet of paper is capable of absorbing red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet. In Example B, the pigment in the sheet of paper is capable of absorbing orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. In each case, whatever color is not absorbed is reflected.


The colors perceived of objects are the results of interactions between the various frequencies of visible light waves and the atoms of the materials that objects are made of. Many objects contain atoms capable of either selectively absorbing, reflecting or transmitting one or more frequencies of light. The frequencies of light that become transmitted or reflected to our eyes will contribute to the color that we perceive.


When the room lights are turned off (there is no light), any object present in the room appears black. The color appearance of an object depends upon the light which that objects reflects to the observer's eye. Without any incident light, there can be no reflected light. Such an object appears black - the absence of light.


3. The diagrams depict a sheet of paper being illuminated with white light (ROYGBIV). The papers are impregnated with a chemical capable of absorbing one or more of the colors of white light. In each case, determine which color(s) of light are reflected by the paper and what color the paper will appear to an observer.


Larger indices of refraction in glass result in greater differences between the angle of incidence and transmission of light. The reflection of light at the surface occurs due to an instantaneous change in refractive index between glass and its surrounding medium. For normal incidence (Θi = 0), the amount of light reflected is found by


When light travels through a glass, the intensity of the light is typically reduced. This absorption happens when the energy of a photon of light matches the energy needed to excite an electron within the glass to its higher energy state, and the photon is absorbed by the glass.


Any light that is not absorbed by a glass or reflected at its surface will be transmitted through the glass. It is often very important to know exactly how much light will pass through a glass at specified wavelengths. Often, glasses are discussed in terms of their transmittance or transmission. The same information is provided by both of these terms but transmission is reported with ranges from 0 % to 100 % and transmittance from 0 to 1.


The refractive index determines how much the path of light is bent, or refracted, when entering a material. This is described by Snell's law of refraction, n1 sin θ1 = n2 sin θ2, where θ1 and θ2 are the angle of incidence and angle of refraction, respectively, of a ray crossing the interface between two media with refractive indices n1 and n2. The refractive indices also determine the amount of light that is reflected when reaching the interface, as well as the critical angle for total internal reflection, their intensity (Fresnel's equations) and Brewster's angle.[1]


The refractive index may vary with wavelength. This causes white light to split into constituent colors when refracted. This is called dispersion. This effect can be observed in prisms and rainbows, and as chromatic aberration in lenses. Light propagation in absorbing materials can be described using a complex-valued refractive index.[2] The imaginary part then handles the attenuation, while the real part accounts for refraction. For most materials the refractive index changes with wavelength by several percent across the visible spectrum. Nevertheless, refractive indices for materials are commonly reported using a single value for n, typically measured at 633 nm.


The refractive index of materials varies with the wavelength (and frequency) of light.[27] This is called dispersion and causes prisms and rainbows to divide white light into its constituent spectral colors.[28] As the refractive index varies with wavelength, so will the refraction angle as light goes from one material to another. Dispersion also causes the focal length of lenses to be wavelength dependent. This is a type of chromatic aberration, which often needs to be corrected for in imaging systems. In regions of the spectrum where the material does not absorb light, the refractive index tends to decrease with increasing wavelength, and thus increase with frequency. This is called "normal dispersion", in contrast to "anomalous dispersion", where the refractive index increases with wavelength.[27] For visible light normal dispersion means that the refractive index is higher for blue light than for red.


Both n and κ are dependent on the frequency. In most circumstances κ > 0 (light is absorbed) or κ = 0 (light travels forever without loss). In special situations, especially in the gain medium of lasers, it is also possible that κ < 0, corresponding to an amplification of the light. 59ce067264






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