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Behaviour of Light

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Last updated date: 19th Jul 2024
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Introduction On Behaviour of Light as a Wave

An energetic disturbance known as a wave moves energy from one location to another in a consistent and structured manner. The surface waves that cross lakes and oceans are among the most well-known waves. The motion of all atoms exhibits wavelike characteristics, as do sound and light waves. Radio waves, for example, can be transformed to carry information. Wave research is crucial to both physical science and engineering.

Here we are going to learn about behaviours of light,  behaviour of light as a wave, example of light wave reflection, etc. There are many ways to describe waves. For instance, mechanical waves are waves that must pass through a medium. 


One of the most significant wave-like behaviours of light is reflection. Light that has been reflected is visible to us through our eyes. The way light reflects off objects also has an impact on the colours we understand.

When the waves hit a different medium, some of the waves will bounce off the surface. The amount of light (and its wavelengths) reflected, as well as the amount of light absorbed or transmitted, depend on how reflective the surface is.

The same law of reflection that governs waves also applies to how light is reflected. This suggests that the angle of incidence of the incoming light wave and the angle of the reflected light wave will coincide. 

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Light Wave Reflection

Types of Reflection

  • Specular Reflection: When light rays are reflected from a surface in just one outward direction, it is known as a specular reflection. Mirror reflections are an illustration of this type. The microscopic flatness of polished silver or a body of water, for example, or other smooth surfaces, causes specular reflections.

  • Diffuse Reflection: When a surface reflects light in a wide variety of directions, it is said to be diffusing reflection. When a surface is rough on a microscopic scale, diffuse reflections result. Even though it might seem or feel smooth, like a piece of paper, the surface is actually rough at the microscopic level. Light beams are reflected at various angles as a result of this.

Specular Reflection,  Diffuse Reflection

Specular Reflection                         Diffuse Reflection  


As light moves from one medium, such as the air, to another, such as the water, it will change its direction. Its "wave-like" behaviour is referred to as refraction. Like sound waves, light waves exhibit similar behaviour. Light waves change in speed when they go from one medium to another.

Index of Refraction

Scientists use the index of refraction to track how light will behave in various materials. This produces a ratio between the substance's speed and the speed of light in a vacuum. The equation for the index of refraction is as follows:

In the equation n = c/v, c stands for the speed of light in a vacuum, v for the speed of light inside the substance.

Consider water as an example, which has a 1.33 index of refraction. As a result, light moves 1.33 times more quickly through a vacuum than through water.


Diffraction is another characteristic of light that resembles a wave. Light waves will bend when they interact with an object or traverse a gap. Examples of how light is made different include the patterns of light that originate from a compact disc's surface and the silver lining that surrounds clouds.

Diffraction of Light

Diffraction of Light


Interference occurs when two waves interact. The combined amplitude of the two interfering waves will be the size of the wave formed by the waves' collision.

Wave phase determines whether interference is beneficial or harmful. Positive interference occurs when the resulting wave is stronger than the interfering waves. Destructive interference is what is referred to when it has a smaller amplitude.

Constructive Interference, Destructive Interference

Constructive Interference                         Destructive Interference 


The behaviour of light waves is consistent across the electromagnetic spectrum. Depending on the nature of the object and the light's wavelength, light waves that interact with objects are either transmitted, reflected, absorbed, refracted, polarised, diffracted, or scattered. In this article reflection of light for kids and nature, properties and behaviour of waves all are covered. There is also discussion about behaviour of light as a wave and example of light wave reflection. 

FAQs on Behaviour of Light

1. What is the nature ,properties and behaviours of waves puzzles?

A typical human can see light, which is an electromagnetic transverse wave. Experiments on diffraction and interference were the first to show that light is a wave. Light can cross a vacuum just like any other electromagnetic wave.

Every wave has the same behaviour. They are sensitive to diffraction, refraction, interference, and reflection. Anything that reflects, refracts, diffracts, and interferes is referred to as a wave and exhibits these basic aspects.

2. Is Reflection a wave or particle?

When waves hit a barrier and return in a different direction, this is called reflection. As waves move from one medium to another, they can be refracted, which causes them to change direction. So, reflection is a wave.

3. How does light refract and reflect as a particle?

Regarding the reflection phenomenon rather than refraction, the argument in favour of a particle nature for light is much stronger. Whether the source of the light is close by or far away, it still produces a stream of particles that reach the mirror's surface and bounce off or reflect.

4. Define diffraction.

Waves travel through a hole or around a barrier, they can change direction, which is known as diffraction.

5. What are key characteristics of light?

The key characteristics of light are as follows:

  • Light moves forward in a straight line.

  • Sound cannot match the speed of light. 3 x 108 metres per second is the speed of light.

  • Refraction of light