Specular and Diffuse Reflections

Specular and Diffuse Reflections

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Credit: GIPHOTOSTOCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A surface exhibits specular reflection if light incident from a single direction is predominantly reflected along a single direction, with the angles of incidence and reflection equal to each other. Smooth metal surfaces, for example, show specular reflection and hence are used for making mirrors. In contrast, a surface exhibits diffuse reflection if light incident from a single direction is reflected in a broad range of directions. In this photograph a beam of light is first specularly reflected from a gold-coated mirror and then is diffusely reflected from a screen made of thick paper. This is a part of a series of three (including bn9204 and bn9205) photographs showing specular and diffuse reflections.

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Keywords: beam, demo, demonstration, diffuse, education, educational, effect, experiment, light, metal, metallic, mirror, optical, optics, phenomenon, physics, ray, reflection, rough surface, science, scientific, smooth surface, specular

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