Q:

What are three ways light interacts with matter?

A:

Quick Answer

Light interacts with matter through absorption, transmission and reflection. When light strikes the leaf of a plant, the leaf absorbs the light energy, and through the process of photosynthesis, transforms the energy into the food glucose. The leaf reflects the green wavelengths of visible light, giving it the green color.

Know More

Full Answer

When light passes into a suspension, it is possible for people to see reflection and transmission. Windows transmit light, brightening a room. However, if light rays strike dust particles in the air, the rays are reflected to the eyes.

The color of an item is due to the wavelengths of light it absorbs and those it reflects. Objects that do not absorb any wavelengths of light appear white. Those that absorb all wavelengths appear black. However, other colors require a combination of absorption and reflection. A red cup appears red because it absorbs all the wavelengths of the spectra other than red while reflecting red to the observer's eyes. Thus, color is only intrinsic to an item because it has a few atoms on the surface that absorb some of the light. The scientific name of these color-absorbing atoms is pigments. Any remnants of white light the pigments do not absorb reflect to the eyes.

Learn more about Optics & Waves

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why doesn't sound travel through a vacuum?

    A:

    Sound does not travel through a vacuum because molecules of matter are required for sound to exist, and vacuums do not have any matter. The vibrations and movements of small particles of matter are what create sound and allow it to be heard. In a vacuum without any matter, such as space, it is impossible for sound to travel.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What travels faster: light or sound?

    A:

    Light travels at a considerably higher speed than sound. Light travels at a constant speed of 186,000 miles per second, but the speed of sound is only 761.2 mph.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Does sound travel faster than light?

    A:

    Sound travels much more slowly than light. The speed of light is colloquially known as the cosmic speed limit as physical constraints prevent objects of macroscopic scale from traveling faster than light.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is light faster than sound?

    A:

    Light is composed of photons, which are discrete collections of energy with wave and particle properties, while sound travels as a wave through a medium, which makes it travel more slowly. While light and sound have some similarities due to wave-particle duality, their physical attributes differ significantly.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore