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Light Rays

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Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
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What is Ray of Light?

Light is a form of Electromagnetic Radiation of any Wavelength whether it is visible or not. Light is made up of small packets of energy called Photons, consisting of Waves of Electromagnetic Radiations. Photons do not possess any charge or resting mass and travel at the speed of Light. In Physics and optics, an idealized model of Light drawn as a straight line is called a Light Ray. A Light Ray is always drawn with an arrow that implies the direction of the energy flow. Light Rays are nothing but a model explaining the movements of Light from one point to another. A group of Light Rays or a Light Beam, coming out from a source of Light is known as a point source. 

 

Different Types of Beams of Light

Beams of Light can be of 3 types. They are parallel, convergent and divergent.

Parallel: When Rays from a distant point source travel parallel to each other in a particular direction, it forms a parallel Light Beam. The sunRay is an example of a parallel Beam of Light.

Convergent: In a convergent Beam, the Light Rays from a source of Light, eventually meet or converge to a point.

Divergent: In a divergent Beam, the Light Rays disperse away from a source of Light.

 

Reflection of Light

Light Rays change their direction while moving from one medium or when they are reflected off a surface. The law of Reflection states that a Light Ray reflecting off an even surface has an equal angle of incidence and angle of Reflection.

Refraction of Light

When a Light Ray travels from one transparent medium to another transparent medium, a portion of the Light is reflected and another portion of the Light is transmitted into the second transparent medium, changing the direction of the Light. This phenomenon is defined as the Refraction of Light. 

 

The law of Refraction or Snell's law states that the ratio of the sine of angles of incidence and Refraction is equal to the ratio of the refractive index of the first and the second media respectively.

Mathematical Form

ratio of sin θ1 and sin θ2 (sin θ1 / sin θ2 ) = ratio of refractive index (n1 / n2)

 

or, 

 

n1 sin θ1 = n2 sin θ2


Where,

 

θ1 = angle of incidence

 

θ2 = angle of Refraction

 

The index of Refraction of medium 1 and 2 are n1 and n2, respectively

 

A Light Ray from a Lighter medium when entered into a denser medium bends towards the normal of the surface. On the other hand, a Ray emerging from a denser medium entering into a Lighter medium bends away from the normal. When the incident Ray is equal to the normal of the surface, the direction of the Light stays unaltered as it enters into the second medium.

Index of Refraction

The ratio of the speed of Light in a vacuum to its speed in that particular medium is known as the refractive index or index of Refraction. For example, the refractive index for a vacuum is always 1. The refractive index of air (standard conditions) is 1.0003, water is 1.3, and that of glass is 1.5.

 

By the law of Reflection and the law of Refraction, you can understand how a Light Ray travels. The law of Reflection can be used to understand the images produced by different types of mirrors like a plane mirror, concave and convex mirrors. Whereas, Snell’s law can be used in lenses. For example, a human eye.

 

Light can be described as an Electromagnetic Wave where the straight-line paths that are followed by narrow Beams of Light through which Light energy travels are commonly known as Rays. Light travels in straight lines but its direction can be changed by Reflection or Refraction. Light is made up of energy called photons,  which consists of Waves of Electromagnetic Radiation. A model which explains the movement of Light from one place to another is what Light Ray is.

Different Types of Light Rays

There are three different types of Light Beams, namely Parallel. Convergent and Divergent A Beam of Light Rays that are given out from a source is known as a Beam of Light.


While moving from one medium, or when Light is reflected off a surface, Light Rays change their direction. On Reflection from a smooth surface, the angle of the Ray that is reflected is equal to the incident Ray's angle.  This law of Reflection is used to understand the complex images that are produced by the plane and the curved mirrors.


A Ray of Light travels from one transparent medium to another, and one portion of the Light is reflected, and another portion of the Light is transmitted to another second transparent medium - this phenomenon is known as Refraction.


The law of Refraction is also known as Snell's law.


With the help of certain mathematical formulas, the various problems on Light, a Ray of Light and a Beam of Light, can all be solved.

FAQs on Light Rays

1. State the Law of Refraction.

The law of refraction is employed by Snell. This law of refraction is also known as Snell's law. The law of refraction states that the ratio of the sine of angles of incidence and refraction is equal to the ratio of the refractive index of the first and the second media respectively. Now, we are going to discuss the mathematical formula of the law of refraction. 


The mathematical form of the law is- 


sin θ1 / sin θ2 = a1 / a2


or, a1 sin θ1 = a2 sin θ2


where,


θ1 = angle of incidence


θ2 = angle of refraction


Here, the index of refraction of medium 1 and 2 are a1 and a2, respectively. 

2. What are the Different Types of Light Beams?

Beams of light can be of 3 types. They are parallel, convergent and divergent. Here, we have mentioned the definition of these three types of light beams below. 


Parallel: When rays from a distant point source travel parallel to each other in a particular direction, it forms a parallel light beam. The ray from the sun is an example of a parallel beam of light.


Convergent: In a convergent beam, the light rays from a source of light, eventually meet or converge to a point.


Divergent: In a divergent beam, the light rays disperse away from a source of light.

3. What do you understand about Ray and Beam of Light?

A Ray of Light can be described as the path of Light through which energy travels in a medium, and is represented by a straight line along with an arrow marked on it. A group of Rays of Light is known as the Beam of Light. The Beam of Light can be either parallel, divergent or convergent. For eg. sunLight forms a Beam, a Light Beam when it comes filtered through certain media like the clouds, windows or even through flora, greenery and other kinds of foliage.

4. Explain the different types of Light Beams.

Three different types of Light Beams are there, namely parallel, convergent and divergent Light Beams.

  • Parallel Light Beams are formed when the Rays from some distant point travel parallel to one another in a particular direction. Sun is a perfect example here.

  • Divergent Light Beams are Beams where the Light Rays disperse away from a particular source of Light.

  • Convergent Light Beams are the Rays of Light from a particular source of Light that eventually meet or converge at some point.

5. Where can we get notes on Rays and Beams of Light?

Rays and Beams of Light are an important part of Physics and it is important to have a very clear understanding of the topic. To understand all the concepts, the study material available at the online education portal, Vedantu.com is very helpful. Vedantu has solved problems and answers to all necessary questions and these have been solved and formulated with utmost care so as to make understanding of the concepts easier.  Well researched and accurate solutions and explanations along with the necessary formulas are all clearly given.

6. What is the concept of Light?

The Radiation formed from Electromagnetic Waves and which moves in a straight line. Lights can be classified into two categories, Natural Light and Artificial Light. SunLight is the main source of natural Light whereas the electric Light that is emitted from a Light bulb, the Light emitted by a candle, Light we get from Oil lamps are all sources of artificial Light. Light is that form of energy that allows us to see things around us. Light travels at a speed of 300,000 kilometres per second.

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