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enter image description here

In the case of mirror, I understand how a image is formed, If I replace plane mirror by wood or some other opaque material in the above image and position of object(bottle) and eye remain the same , then I know, no image will be formed.

My question is why mirrors form image, and why opaque, transparent or translucent materials don't form image?

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  • $\begingroup$ @Jimmy360 then how do we see them? $\endgroup$ – Asher Jun 3 '15 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Jimmy360 we can see a reflected image in plain glass even though most of the light is transmitted (not reflected) but we cannot see an image in a white painted wall even though most of the light is reflected. Whether we see an image or not has more to do with the specularity of the reflector than its albedo. $\endgroup$ – Asher Jun 3 '15 at 9:07
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This is entirely based on the way light interacts with the materials. Mirrors are made of materials particularly chosen because they reflect light without distorting it.

Some materials might reflect a lot of light, but the light might (essentially) "bounce" around inside the material in such a way that it comes out at odd angles or with odd colorings in a way that distorts the image. I use quotes because light in the way it propagates through mediums is best described as a wave, and you have to be careful about how exactly you think of a wave "bouncing off" atoms and their electric fields and such. But anyways this distortion is similar to the way frosted glass distorts light passing through it in bathrooms, except that this would be a case of transmission of light, not reflection of light as with a mirror.

Some materials absorb the light, only to re-emit it later. These re-emission usually bear little resemblance to the light waves that originally hit such a material. Similarly, some materials are very selective about what colors and wavelengths of light they reflect and absorb.

All of these latter considerations provide a large class of materials which end up not making good mirrors.

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mirror produces image whereas other materials do not.this is because mirror is a highly polished surface which reflects the light in a particular direction and we are able to see the image formed.in case of other materials, they have a rough surface which reflects light in different directions and we are not able to see the image.

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