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Nuclear Fusion

incident ray, reflected ray, angle of reflection, angle of incidence, point source

The amount of light reflected depends on the ratio of the refractive indexes for the two media. The plane of incidence contains the incident ray and the normal (line perpendicular) to the surface at the point of incidence (see Fig. 1). The angle of incidence (reflection or refraction) is the angle between the incident (reflected or refracted) ray and this normal. The laws of reflection state that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection and that the incident ray, the reflected ray, and the normal to the surface at the point of incidence all lie in the same plane. If the surface of the second medium is smooth or polished, it may act as a mirror and produce a reflected image. If the mirror is flat, or plane, the image of the object appears to lie behind the mirror at a distance equal to the distance between the object and the surface of the mirror. The light source in Fig. 2 is the object A, and a point on A sends out rays in all directions. The two rays that strike the mirror at B and C, for example, are reflected as the rays BD and CE. To an observer in front of the mirror, these rays appear to come from the point F behind the mirror. It follows from the laws of reflection that CF and BF form the same angle with the surface of the mirror as do AC and AB. If the surface of the second medium is rough, then normals to various points of the surface lie in random directions. In that case, rays that may lie in the same plane when they emerge from a point source nevertheless lie in random planes of incidence, and therefore of reflection, and are scattered and cannot form an image.

Not all of the light that strikes a mirror is reflected; some of the light can pass through the mirror or be absorbed by the mirror. Many scientists thought a perfect mirroróone that reflects 100 percent of the light that strikes itócould not exist. However, in 1998, scientists made a perfect mirror by stacking up microscopic layers of tellurium and the plastic polystyrene.



Article key phrases:

incident ray, reflected ray, angle of reflection, angle of incidence, point source, refraction, point F, CF, light source, normals, BF, observer, mirror, ratio, scientists, distance, surface, object, percent, medium, example, light, case, media

 
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