I've been trying to wrap my head around what determines whether a ray of light is being reflected or refracted. A beam of light does both, as shown in this picture. http://sc663dcag.weebly.com/uploads/2/4/1/1/24110261/8991488_orig.jpg But a beam of light is made out of multiple photons or waves.
1) So what about each individual photon; does the photon split into two, and one half is reflected while the other one is refracted?
2) Or does some photons reflect and some refract, and if so what determines what happens to which photon?
3) Or is it that photons just bounce of in different directions, some are bouncing away from the material causing reflection and some are bouncing into the material and thus causing refraction? Well actually photons don't really bounce, do they, like ping pong balls bouncing of a basket ball? Photons are absorbed by an electron, exciting it to move to a higher energy level and then releasing that same energy again when falling back to it's ground state. But is this re-emission happening in random directions, sometimes away from the material and sometimes into the material? But if so, wouldn't that cause very diffuse reflections and refractions if just all photons bounce off in all random directions. This isn't happening, so what makes sure that the angle of reflection is the same as the angle of incidence (also viable in the image above)? If an electron is absorbing a photon while it is circling around its atom, and then releases it again at a later time, then the electron isn't in the same position as is were when absorbing the photon, so how can the electron "know" what the angle of incidence was so that it can release the photon in a new angle that becomes the same as the incidence angle was at the time of absorption . . . that makes no sense, does it?!
What am I missing here? :)