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Physics LibreTexts

1: Reflection and Refraction via Fermat's Principle and Huygens' Construction

  • Page ID
    7354
    • 1.1: Reflection and Refraction
      Reflection of light from a smooth, shiny surface is called specular reflection. (Latin speculum a mirror.) At the other extreme we have the sort of diffuse scattering that occurs when you shine light on blotting paper. And there are lots of situations in between these extremes. In this chapter I am going to deal solely with specular reflection, the law of specular reflection being that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence.

    Thumbnail: Diffraction of a plane wave when the slit width equals the wavelength. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0; Lookangmany).