What are the Laws of Reflection?

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- GoPhotonics

Sep 19, 2023

Laws of Reflection is a fundamental principle that governs the phenomenon of reflection of light. There are two basic laws of reflection:

  • The angle of reflection equals that of incidence, with respect to normal to the surface. This means that the incident ray and reflected ray, along with a normal to the surface, lie in the same plane. Angle between an incident light beam and normal is called the angle of incidence, and the angle between reflected light beam and normal is referred to as angle of reflection. Normal is a line perpendicular to the surface at point of contact.

  • Reflected ray is always in the plane defined by incident ray and normal to the surface at point of contact of incident ray.

The relationship between angle of reflection and incidence can be expressed as:

Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection

Where θi is angle of incidence and θr is angle of reflection, for regular reflection, angle of incidence is always equal to angle of reflection.

Reflection of Light

The phenomenon in which light rays strike a surface and bounces back to the same medium is termed as reflection of light.

There are two types of reflection: regular and diffused reflection.

Regular reflection: This type of reflection arises from smooth surfaces of plane mirrors. The resulting image is precise and sharp. Every incident light ray on the surface is uniformly and equally reflected. It is also recognized as Specular Reflection.

Irregular reflection: When light bounces off an uneven or rough surface in an unpredictable manner, it is termed irregular or Diffused reflection. Consequently, the intensity of brightness and the quality of reflection decreases.