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16
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2answers
3k views

How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?

How is the following classical optics phenomenon explained in quantum electrodynamics? Reflection and Refraction Are they simply due to photons being absorbed and re-emitted? How do we get to ...
13
votes
4answers
8k views

Phase shift of 180 degrees on reflection from optically denser medium

Can anyone please provide an intuitive explanation of why phase shift of 180 degrees occurs in the Electric Field of a EM wave,when reflected from an optically denser medium? I tried searching for it ...
167
votes
17answers
53k views

A mirror flips left and right, but not up and down

Why is it that when you look in the mirror left and right directions appear flipped, but not the up and down?
6
votes
5answers
382 views

Explain reflection laws at the atomic level

The "equal angles" law of refection on a flat mirror is a macroscopic phenomenon. To put it in anthropomorphic terms, how do individual photons know the orientation of the mirror so as to bounce off ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How do mirrors work?

Apparently, light is just a certain wavelength, or "the visible spectrum" of electromagnetic waves. If I recall correctly, my physics teacher explained to me that electromagnetic waves are basically ...
12
votes
5answers
534 views

What longest time ever was achieved at holding light in a closed volume?

For what longest possible time it was possible to hold light in a closed volume with mirrored walls? I would be most interested for results with empty volume but results with solid-state volume may ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What happens to light in a perfect reflective sphere?

Let's say you have the ability to shine some light into a perfectly round sphere and the sphere's interior surface was perfectly smooth and reflective and there was no way for the light to escape. If ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the difference between a white object and a mirror?

I was taught that something which reflects all the colors of light is white. The function of a mirror is the same, it also reflects all light. What's the difference? Update: But what if the white ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you see yourself in a mirror when you are riding on top of a light stream?

What happens if you would ride on top of a light stream and you would look into a mirror that is in front of you, could you actually see your own face? I am asking this because I heard that nothing ...
5
votes
5answers
377 views

Trapping a lightray

Given a solid whose interior is a hollow sphere with perfectly reflecting mirrors. A small hole is drilled in the sphere and a photon is sent in at some angle. Will it always eventually exit through ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How does reflection work?

In Newton's model of light as being composed of particles, it's easy to imagine reflection as being the rebounding of individual corpuscles off a surface. However, since light can also behave like a ...
1
vote
3answers
229 views

What color would you see if you place 2 mirrors in opposit when one is a one way mirror

What would you see if you have 2 huge mirrors (you cant look over it or next to it) You place them with the reflecting side to each other and you look in the mirror from behind one mirror (one way ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

How come an anti-reflective coating makes glass *more* transparent?

The book I'm reading about optics says that an anti-reflective film applied on glass* makes the glass more transparent, because the air→film and film→glass reflected waves (originated from a paraxial ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What happens when a photon hits a mirror?

When a photon of light hits a mirror does the exact same photon of light bounce back or is it absorbed then one with the same properties emitted? If the same one is bounced back does it's velocity ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

Free Optics Simulation Programs

I'm having an extremely difficult time finding an optics program that is easy to use and offers accurate physics simulations. I'm not asking for much, I just want to be able to simulate a laser going ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Reflection At Speed of Light

I have looked online to no avail. There is two competing answers and I am curious to know which one is right. Someone asked me this question. If you are traveling at the speed of light can you see ...
5
votes
1answer
970 views

What IS reflection?

How does quantum electrodynamics actually explain HOW reflection occurs on a microscopic scale? Note that Feynman's QED lecture series/book is not sufficient, as he only assumes that light DOES ...
2
votes
2answers
166 views

The Goos Hanchen shift mechanism

When the light is totally reflected in the interface between dense and less-dense medium, we know that the reflected beam will shift a little. Currently I have known the reflection coef r, will be a ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

How does a one-sided glass work?

How does a one-sided glass work? If seen from the outer side, we can see through thinking it is transparent, while if seen from the inside, the glass acts as a mirror. How?
0
votes
1answer
479 views

How are these balls reflected after they hit each other? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Physics of simple collisions I have 2 photos of the balls, one before the collision and one after the collision. They do a elastic collision. I want to know how is the ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I determine transmission/reflection coefficients for light?

When light rays reflect off a boundary between two materials with different indices of refraction, a lot of the sources I've seen (recently) don't discuss the relation between the amplitude (or ...
12
votes
3answers
540 views

Is there a limit to the resolving power of a mirror telescope?

Like, if you flattened out Ceres to a 1 mm iron foil telescope mirror with 20x the surface area of the Sun, could you resolve details on the surface of an exoplanet? Could you make it arbitrarily ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

How does the moon reflect light?

We can see the moon in the night because it reflects sunlight. But the light is incident on the opposite side of moon with respect to the observer in the night. In this case, how does the moon ...
4
votes
2answers
352 views

How long do reflections take?

How long does it take for a photon to be reflected? Starting with the photon being absorbed by some atom to the point it's reemitted? And what's the same point with pressure waves, like sound?
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why can't my eye see itself in the mirror through polarizing 3D-glasses?

I found a pair of polarizing "3D glasses" lying around, and tried to look at myself in the mirror while wearing them. To my utter confusion, when closing the left eye and only looking through the ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Two mirrors facing each other

What happens when you place two mirrors facing each other? Is it possible to have an infinite amount of reflections?
3
votes
1answer
157 views

computing wavefront deviations for off-axis mirrors

Suppose you have two off-axis aligned mirrors which are nearly planar, with small deformations such that a wavefront at plane $P_I$ at distance $-D$ from the mirrors, is refocused at distance $D$ at ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Principle of Reflection on atomic level

The well observed phenomenon has besides several others has always been a fascination to me, we are well aware of several theories, experiments and practical applications of the well known phenomenon. ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Reflected and refracted wave sphased

When we derive refraction and reflection laws for a generical plane wave on a surface, we say that reflected and refracted must be in phase with the incident wave. Why a medium cannot do a sphased ...
1
vote
1answer
353 views

How does light get into a stable optical cavity in the first place?

It is supposedly possible to trap a beam of light bouncing back and fourth between two mirrors in a stable configuration. As I understand it, this means the configuration will prevent further spread ...
0
votes
2answers
268 views

Reflection formula for spherical surface from Fermat's principle (Query)

The snip shows a part of the method shown by my teacher, to describe the reflection formula for spherical surface. However I do not understand how the relation of AB and BI (which I have ...