PhysLink.com Logo

Question

Theoretically would light infinitely bounce, in a room made of perfect mirrors?
Asked by: N.N.

Answer

Yes, light would bounce forever in a room made of perfect mirrors. A perfect mirror reflects all of the light incident on it according to the laws of classical optics. There is no loss through either transmission of the light or conversion of light energy into another form (atomic vibrations, etc.). However, this scenario breaks down when real mirrors are used. Since mirrors are made of atoms, and not perfectly-flat perfectly-reflecting surfaces, all of the light is not reflected. Thus, light will not bounce forever if we use real mirrors, the light intensity would decrease with each bounce.
Answered by: Andreas Birkedal-Hansen, M.A., Physics Grad Student, UC Berkeley






Science Quote

'I thank You God for this most amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite.'

E.E. Cummings
(1894-1962)





All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2018 PhysLink.com