I was thinking that UL and IL are being absorbed when striking glass which makes no light passing through. need clarification.

  • $\begingroup$ What is UL and IL ? $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @anna from context, probably ultraviolet light and infrared light. And I guess, the question is "how come that's absorbed, but the part in between isn't" $\endgroup$
    – LLlAMnYP
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ Glass is transparent for SW infrared (which includes most of the IR energy coming from the sun for example). It's only at about 2800 nm that transmission drops. $\endgroup$
    – Previous
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ Some glass is formulated for clarity, but not brown or green glass. Glass is a mixture, and transparency depends on the ingredients in the mix. $\endgroup$
    – Whit3rd
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


Assuming ( thanks LLlAMnYP for the translation) UL means the ultraviolet part of the spectrum and IL the infrared part, it is an experimental fact that glass is transparent for visible light which is in between . This can be completely described within the classical theory which defines the index of refraction for the degree of transparency.

What happens when matter is not transparent to the incident light, as for ultraviolet and infrared for glass , is the same as what happens with all non transparent materials. Light may be reflected, or absorbed in the first few atomic layers.

One has to go to the quantum mechanical frame to understand the complexity. The atoms, molecules and the lattices composed out of them respond to specific frequencies in various ways. For transparent materials, the photons making up the light do not interact, or interact coherently, with the lattice and molecular states, losing no energy. At most some may be reflected at the surface . It is a matter of construction of the lattice too ( think diamond and chunk of carbon) Opaque materials have centers which interact with the incoming photons, absorbing them and turning the energy to heat, or also reflecting them from the surface in a disorganized fashion.

When energies of photons are large, like x-rays most materials are transparent because the probability of the photons to interact is small and many go through unscathed.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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