Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We say an object's color is blue if the object is opaque, reflects blue color and absorbs waves of other color. What color a transparent object actually reflects?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A truly transparent object doesn't reflect any color in the sense that you seem to mean. How we normally "see" transparent objects is by the refraction of light that they cause and the effect on the image of what lies "behind" them. There is, however, a phenomenon called "total internal reflection" where a transparent object can reflect ALL light that approaches its boundary within a certain range of angles. This is what causes the strange reflection you see when looking up from under water near the surface and how fiber optic systems work.

share|improve this answer
3  
Until someone invents a perfect anti-reflection coating, EVERY object that refracts light will reflect light (except if you're exactly at the Brewster angle). It's not an all-or-nothing phenomena where it's total internal reflection or nothing. –  Anonymous Coward Aug 25 '11 at 0:45
    
@AnonymousCoward: You can make a nearly perfect anti-reflection coating using a smooth index-gradient starting with air-index and going up. This is difficult to do, the index of a dense material is usually much larger than that of air. But for a limited wavelength window, it is possible to do it approximately using solid materials. –  Ron Maimon Oct 29 '12 at 5:46
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.