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.

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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.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some examples of diffuse reflection?

    A:

    Reflection from rough surfaces, such as asphalt, paper and clothing are examples of diffuse reflection. In diffuse reflection, light rays are scattered randomly at different angles from the reflecting surface.

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  • Q:

    Is the echoing effect produced by many reflections of sound?

    A:

    An echo is the reflection of sound waves off distant objects, whereas flutter echoes bounce repeatedly off multiple surfaces. An example of an echo is when someone shouts into a well, or along canyon walls, and the sound of the human voice comes back to the person's ears. A flutter echo occurs in large buildings with parallel walls, such as gymnasiums, where sounds increase to create loud environments.

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    How are echoes created?

    A:

    Echoes work through the reflection of sound waves. When a person shouts into a well or canyon, and they hear an echo, it is because the sound waves reflect from the canyon wall or the bottom of the well and travel back to the person's ears.

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  • Q:

    What are Newton's rings?

    A:

    Newton's rings refer to a pattern of wave interference caused by the reflection of light between round and flat surfaces. The phenomenon is named after Sir Isaac Newton, who first studied the pattern in 1717. When viewed with light of a single color, the rings look like a series of concentric circles.

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