I am currently reading about the interactions between light and matter, but I keep coming across conflicting explanations.
My initial understanding (using classical electrodynamics) was that light (EM) waves do not actually travel through glass. Instead, they are absorbed by the atoms and/or electrons within the glass, which then emit new EM waves. The new EM waves emitted by the energised particles make up the forward-radiation, which is the light observed from the opposite side of the glass. So it appears as if light is travelling through the glass, but it's actually being absorbed and then re-emitted with (mostly) the same properties.
The article How Does Light Travel Through Glass? by Chad Orzel, based on a related SE question, confirms the above:
To understand the propagation of a wave through a medium, you can think of each component of the medium– atoms, in the case of a glass block– as being set into motion by the incoming wave, and then acting as a point source of its own waves.
But an answer to a different but related question, If light is made of particles, how does it pass through glass? conflicts with the above:
the electrons in glass are tightly bound to atoms so they are not free to move like the electrons in a metal and therefore they do not absorb the photons.
I know the above is referring to the quantum electrodynamics understanding, but I think it still conflicts as it claims that EM waves are not absorbed by the electrons in glass because they are too tightly bound to their atoms.
Also, the Wikipedia page on reflection provides a small explanation of the mechanics behind refraction within glass, which kind of conflicts with both of the above:
In the case of dielectrics such as glass, the electric field of the light acts on the electrons in the material, and the moving electrons generate fields and become new radiators. The refracted light in the glass is the combination of the forward radiation of the electrons and the incident light. The reflected light is the combination of the backward radiation of all of the electrons.
From my understanding, the above claims that some of the light is absorbed and re-emitted by the electrons (which conflicts with the linked answer), and that the rest of the incident light travels through the glass (makes up the rest of the refracted light) (which I think conflicts with the linked article, claiming the light is absorbed (although the article doesn't technically state whether all of the light is absorbed and re-emitted, so maybe that's where I'm going wrong(?))
I'm sure this is my misunderstanding, so I would be very grateful if you could clear it up for me:
When a light wave is incident on a sheet of glass, do the particles that make up the glass absorb the waves and re-emit them in the forward direction? Or do the light waves manage to travel through the glass, without being absorbed and then exit the glass?