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Why does light travel and permeate through glass?
in Grade 12 Physical Sciences by Diamond (50,988 points) | 49 views

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Photons pass through glass because they are not absorbed. This is because there is nothing which "absorbs" light in visual frequencies in glass. Light is an electromagntic wave, comprising of changing electric field, which produces a changing magnetic field, which produces a changing electric field. This is how the light propagates through space. Because glass does not absorb these photons, they are absorbed by the inter atomic bonds (phonons) and re-emitted, this is essentialy why the speed of light in glass is slower. It appears transparent because the direction of the light is preserved by the ordered bonds and because little of the energy is lost.

When light rays interact with an entity, like a piece of glass, the electromagnetic wave causes the electron clouds in the material to vibrate and as they vibrate, they regenerate the wave. This happens in a succession of "ripples" as the light passes through the object.
by Wooden (227 points)
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There are three ways that light interacts with matter: absorption, transmission, and reflection. We will focus on absorption and transmission. Recall that light (or more generally electromagnetic radiation) is just another form of energy. Absorption happens when incident light has enough energy to excite an electron from its lowest energy, i.e., ground, state to a higher energy, i.e. excited state. 

However, if the incoming light does not have enough energy to excite an electron to an excited state, that light will simply pass through, i.e., transmit. Emission is also possible, but for materials like glass, you are more likely to get emission via phonons (i.e., heat) rather than photons (i.e., light). In a solid like glass, these energy states form a set of energy bands and between these energy bands there may be an energy gap where no electrons are allowed to transition. For glass, this energy gap is large. What this means is that any wavelength of visible light is not sufficient to excite electrons from the ground state, and thus transmits. However, UV light is high enough energy and you would find that glass is opaque to it.

by Wooden (698 points)
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the light will pass through the glass, because glass is transparent. ... This 'bending of a ray of light' when it passes from one substance into another substance is called refraction.

by Wooden (361 points)
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most of the light is of energy and size that its fits between the gaps and glass particles .some light is reflected especially at the high energy bands,like UV ,hence why you dont tan behind glass.
by Wooden (233 points)
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light that is visible to us passes through glass because the arrangement of the atoms in glass means that they can sustain the ripple effect described above at those frequencies, so light can pass through
by (145 points)
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Light is an electromagnetic wave, which means it contains a changing electric field. When it comes into contact with glass the wave excites the electrons within and causes them to vibrate. This vibration propagates the wave through the glass.
by Wooden (560 points)
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Most of the light is of an energy and size that it fits between the gaps and glass particles, and also the arrangement of the atom in glass means that they can sustain the ripple effect.
by Wooden (494 points)

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