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Thread: continuous light

  1. #1 continuous light 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    if you shone a laser at a set of mirrors that were angled in such a way that the light reflected round back to the starting mirror, wouldn't the laser be trapped and continue to shine even after the light source was turned off

    i've probably missed a basic explanation as to why this wouldnt work.

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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Heidelberg, Germany
    In an ideal world, this were true. But in the real world, no mirror has a reflectivity of 100%. So there is some loss of intensity for each reflection. What you show here is one of the key components of a laser. Light is reflected between two highly reflective mirrors in order to increase the duration of interaction with the laser medium.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    That first bounce in your picture isn't a reflection. There is no closed system of mirrors that can trap an external light source. (You can use partially reflective mirrors, but then you're losing a lot of light each cycle.)

    For an internal light source, you can trap it, but like Dishmaster said, it still would be perfect.
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