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Physics Term One > Light > Flashcards

Flashcards in Light Deck (17):

Angle of incidence

The angle between the incident ray and the normal


Angle of reflection

The angle between the reflected ray and the normal


Angle of refraction

The angle between the refracted ray and the normal


Critical angle

The angle of incidence when the refracted ray is at 90° to the normal


Diffuse reflection

When light is reflected off a rough surface. Light is scattered from diffuse reflection


Incident ray

The ray of light strikes a surface. The incoming ray of light


Lateral inversion

The reversal of the mirror image from left to right. Image in mirror as been flipped laterally


Law of reflection

The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection



A line which is perpendicular to a mirror or reflective surface


Plane mirror

A smooth flat surface which reflect light


Reflected ray

A ray of light which has been reflected off a surface


Refracted ray

A ray of light that has been refracted as it passes through a different substance with a different density



The bending of light as it travels from one substance to another. Refraction occurs as light travels through different substances or mediums at different speeds. Occurs when light passes through a different substance at an angle. When light travels from a substance with a higher refractive index(higher density) to a lower refractive index(lower density), light refracts or bends away from the normal, vise versa


Refractive index

A number which indicates the density of a substance. Measured by speed of light in vacuum divided by speed of light in substance


Regular reflection

When a light ray is reflected off a smooth flat surface, the angle of incidence will equal the angle of reflection.


Total internal reflection

When the angle of incidence is greater than the critical angle. This causes light to reflect instead of refraction through to the next medium.


Virtual image

A virtual image is produced when rays of light reach our eyes that appear to come from a real object, but there is in fact no object at the apparent source of the light. The most common example is when light from an object strikes a simple plane mirror