Light in Dense Media

Light in Dense Media - Light in Dense Media Scattering and...

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Light in Dense Media Scattering and absorption Up until now we have considered only light propagating in free space. Obviously, the subject of optics also concerns what happens inside matter. To understand this we need to examine what happens when a light wave, or a photon is incident on an atom. All the processes of transmission, reflection and refraction, are macroscopic manifestations of scattering effects on the atomic and subatomic levels. When a photon (or light wave) encounters an atom, there are two possibilities: the atom may scatter the light, redirecting it without changing its frequency or energy, or it may absorb the light, using the energy to make a quantum jump into an excited energy state (more precisely, one of its electrons makes the jump). With absorption it is likely that the excitation energy will rapidly be transferred to atomic motion, via collisions, thus producing thermal energy before the atom decays back to the lower energy state re-emitting a photon. Scattering usually occurs only
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Light in Dense Media - Light in Dense Media Scattering and...

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