Transmission, Absorption and Reflection of Light


Light has the characteristics to be reflected, transmitted or absorbed when it falls on a surface with a certain angle of incidence. Light appears as the only electromagnetic radiation that is capable of reflection, transmission and absorption while being visible to the human eye. The process of absorption, transmission and reflection are influenced by the neutral frequencies that can trigger these phenomena in real-time.

Absorption of light

Definition of absorption of light

The process of absorption of light takes place when light is converted into energy after it falls on a surface. When the electrons absorb energy they become excited and start to move to a comparatively higher level of energy that is away from the nucleus. The energy level of the electrons falls back quickly as they do not like being excited for a longer period.

Figure 1: Absorption of light

After the process of absorption takes place, it triggers the release of a packet of energy that is later called a photon present in the rays of light. The process of absorption follows the method of spectroscopy to study the pattern of absorption of light in real-time.

Causes of the absorption of light

Absorption of light mostly depends on the frequencies where the atoms within the light tend to vibrate. When the wave of light hits a surface, the electrons of the atoms set in the vibration motion. During the vibration, the interaction between the electrons and their neighbouring atoms eventually gets converted into thermal energy, triggering the process of absorption of light (Filipescu, 2021). In simple words, when light’s frequency matches with the vibration frequency of the electrons and the neighbouring atoms, the process of absorption takes place for light. Different molecules and atoms possess different natural vibration frequencies which eventually helps in the selective absorption of the different frequencies of light.

Transmission of light

The phenomenon of transmission of light takes place when a ray of light hits a transparent object that is translucent from where light can penetrate the material in order to travel its way through the object. As light moves as a wave, it is visible to the human eye when it is reflected and absorbed in real-time.

Figure 2: Transmission of light

The process of transmission takes place when the waves of light move wavy through a material that is eligible to absorb the light after it hits the object. The process of transmission depends on the transmittance of a material that is proportional to the phenomenon of light moving from one side to the other side (Light-measurement, 2022). In simple words, the process of transmission of light takes place when, light passes through some translucent or transparent object and gets refracted from it.

Reflection of light

Definition of Reflection

The process of reflection takes place when the light rays fall on a certain surface and gets bounded back from the surface. According to the principles of light, when, light falls on a smooth surface, the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection stands equally.

Figure 3: Reflection of light

In addition, the incident ray, the normal surface and the reflected ray lie on the same surface. In simple words, the phenomenon of light reflection takes place when light bounces back from the surface objects that light strikes in the first place.

Types of Reflection

Regular reflection: The regular reflection is a type of reflection that takes place when, light falls on a smooth surface and gets reflected evenly. In the case of this type of reflection, the image is more visible and appears clearly in front of the human eye. The images formed by the regular reflection cannot be collected on a screen, as they are always virtual (Takahashi et al. 2021). As the light reflects in a specific direction when it is bounced back from a smooth surface, the phenomenon of regular reflection is also called the specular reflection.

Figure 4: Regular and Irregular reflection

Irregular reflection: The irregular reflections takes place when, light falls on a rough surface and is reflected in a scattered way. In this case, the wavelength of light and the parallel incident rays of light gets reflected diffusely or irregularly in different directions. This type of reflection is responsible for the ability of the human eye to see the illuminated surfaces from different positions (Light-measurement, 2022). Due to the bounce back from a rough surface and the diffusion of the ray of light, this type of reflection is commonly regarded as the diffused reflection.


The absorption, transmission and reflection of light can happen when a ray of light hits a surface under different circumstances. The process of absorption depends on the nucleus, electrons and the level of vibration. The transmission depends on the transparency of the object where the ray of light falls. Reflection takes place when the angle of incidence stands equal to the angle of reflection in real-time.


Q1. Can light be transmitted through matter in real-time?

Ans. Light is the only electromagnetic wave that can travel through empty space as well as matter. So, it can be said that light is eligible to travel through matter in real-time.

Q2. On which factor does the absorption of light depend the most?

Ans. Electromagnetic frequency of light and the nature of the atoms of an object impacts the absorption of light in real-time. These two factors are directly proportional to each other which eventually influences the absorption of light in real-time.

Q3. Why reflection of light is important in the day-to-day lives of humans?

Ans. The reflection of light enables the human eye to observe everything and see them clearly in real-time. When light bounces off a surface, either it distributes light evenly or diffusely which enables the human eye to see everything.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 13-Oct-2022

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