GIPHOTOSTOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GIPHOTOSTOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In this photograph a diode laser beam (635 nm) is incident on a tank of water. First the beam refracts (bends) toward the normal to the surface. The angles of incidence and refraction are related through the Snell's law. Then the beam is totally internally reflected at the water-air interface. Total internal reflection occurs when light is incident on an interface between a more optically dense medium and a less optically dense medium and the angle of incidence exceeds a certain value, called critical angle. All the light is then reflected back to the more optically dense medium and no light enters the less dense medium, except a very thin layer near the surface (evanescent wave).
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