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The Nature of Light. Part 1 – Properties of Light Light travels in straight lines: Laser.

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Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Light. Part 1 – Properties of Light Light travels in straight lines: Laser."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Nature of Light

2 Part 1 – Properties of Light Light travels in straight lines: Laser

3 Light travels VERY FAST! Approx. 299,792,458 m / s At this speed, a traveler could go around the world 7.5 times in one second.

4 Light travels much faster than sound. For example: 1)Thunder and lightning start at the same time, but we will see the lightning first. 2) When a starting pistol is fired we see the smoke first and then hear the bang.

5 It’s tricky… Light can be described as a wave OR as a stream of particles!  Wave-Particle Duality!

6 Light produces interference patterns (interacts) like waves do! Light: -is a transverse wave -is an electromagnetic wave -can be described by amplitude, wavelength, and frequency

7 But the wave model doesn’t explain everything! Example: When light strikes a piece of metal, electrons may fly off the metal’s surface. Like they are separate particles?

8 So… Light can also be modeled as a stream of particles. In this model, units of light are called photons. * Photons are not ordinary matter! Have no mass Little bundles of energy Energy carried by a photon is proportional to frequency.

9 Intensity Amount of light illuminating a surface. Depends upon the number of photons per second that pass through an area of space. Intensity of light decreases as distance from light increases. (Light spreads out!)

10 We see things because they reflect light into our eyes: Homework

11 Part 2 - Reflection Reflection from a mirror: Incident ray Normal Reflected ray Angle of incidence Angle of reflection Mirror

12 The Law of Reflection Angle of incidence = Angle of reflection In other words, light gets reflected from a surface at ____ _____ angle it hits it. The same !!!

13 Clear vs. Diffuse Reflection Smooth, shiny surfaces have a clear reflection: Rough, dull surfaces have a diffuse reflection. Diffuse reflection is when light is scattered in different directions

14 Using mirrors Two examples: 1) A periscope 2) A car headlight

15 Refraction Light waves BEND (because they change speed) when passing from one medium to another!


17 Electromagnetic Spectrum Human eyes can detect light waves that have wavelengths of 400nm (violet) to 700nm (red)  Visible Spectrum Visible Spectrum is only a small part of the EM Spectrum!

18 Color White light is not a single color; it is made up of a mixture of the seven colors of the rainbow. We can demonstrate this by splitting white light with a prism: This is how rainbows are formed: sunlight is “split up” by raindrops.

19 Adding colors White light can be split up to make separate colors. These colors can be added together again. The primary colors of light are red, blue and green: Adding blue and red makes magenta (purple) Adding blue and green makes cyan (light blue) Adding all three makes white again Adding red and green makes yellow

20 Seeing color The color an object appears depends on the colors of light it reflects. For example, a red book only reflects red light: White light Only red light is reflected

21 A white hat would reflect all seven colours: A pair of purple trousers would reflect purple light (and red and blue, as purple is made up of red and blue): Purple light White light

22 Using filters Filters can be used to “block” out different colours of light: Red Filter Magenta Filter


24 EM Spectrum Consists of waves at all possible energies, frequencies, and wavelengths. Each part has unique properties! Radio waves – communications/radar Microwaves – cooking/communication Infrared Light – warmth UV Light – part of sunlight X rays & gamma rays – medicine


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