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Thread: Total Internal Refraction

  1. #1 Total Internal Refraction 
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    Dec 2012
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    First post guys so go easy please!

    Two questions:

    a) what happens when light refracts across a plastic block at an angle of less than 90 degrees?
    b) Why does total internal reflection occur in plastic above the critical angle?

    I have looked at Wiki but find the 'how; but not the 'why' of what is going on.

    All answers appreciated.

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  3. #2  
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    Light is a propagating electromagnetic wave. Electromagnetic radiation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It's not a point like particle. Light takes all possible paths. Light can interfere with itself or either increase it's magnitude or destroy it's wavelength. Wave - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. You have to take into consideration that light is being observed at a location. The light that is seen at that location is the light that got there first. When it's faster to reflect in the the medium to get back to your eye that's what you'll see, when it's faster for the light to exit the medium into the air and back to your eye than that's the path you will see. Fermat's principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. When there are multiple paths that take the same time the light will produce a blurry image. Birefringence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. One cool manifestation of light taking the path of least time is a mirage. Mirage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. On an atomic level the light is being absorbed by electrons. The electron will gain energy and be able to get closer to the nucleus. After a short time the constant repulsion by the nucleus (protons) will force the electron back into a stable state and it will reemit the light with a different frequency. That's why objects have color. Color - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Different colors of light have different momentums... Have to go to bed. Wife is complaining.

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