Scattering vs Reflection
Reflection and scattering are two phenomena observed in many systems. Reflection is the process of diversion of a path of a particle or a wave due to a non-interacting collision. Scattering is a process where interaction between the two colliding particles occurs. Both of these phenomena are very important in fields such as mechanics, geometrical optics, physical optics, relativity, quantum physics and various other fields. It is vital to have a thorough knowledge in reflection and scattering in order to excel in such fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what reflection and scattering are, their definitions, the similarities between reflection and scattering, their application, and finally the differences between reflection and scattering.
What is Scattering?
Scattering is a process which plays a very important role in many fields of physics and chemistry. Scattering is the process where waves get deviated due to certain anomalies in the space. Forms of radiation such as light, sound and even small particles can be scattered. The cause of scattering can be a particle, a density anomaly or even a surface anomaly. Scattering can be considered as an interaction between two particles. This is very important in proving the wave particle duality of light. For this proof, the Compton Effect is taken. The reason for the sky being blue is also due to scattering. This is due to the phenomenon called the Rayleigh scattering. The Rayleigh scattering causes the blue light from the sun to be scattered more than other wavelengths. Due to this, the color of the sky is blue. Other forms of scattering are Mie scattering, Brillouin scattering, Raman scattering and inelastic X-ray scattering
What is Reflection?
Reflection is a phenomenon mainly discussed in optics, but reflection also has applications in various other fields. For light, reflection is mainly governed by the law that the angle of incident is equal to the angle of reflection at any given point. The angles are measured with respect to the normal drawn at the point of reflection to the reflecting surface. Some surfaces fully reflect the incident light while some surfaces partially reflect the incident light. Our vision is mainly governed by reflection. Most of the objects we see are seen by the light reflected from them. For each of these surfaces, the reflectivity of each wavelength is different, thereby giving a unique color and texture to the surface. Reflection is not a wave nature. Particles such as electrons also show reflection. Reflection is considered to be a particle property of matter.
What is the difference between Reflection and Scattering?
• Scattering is a wave property of matter whereas reflection is a particle property.
• Scattering requires a total absorption and emission of a particle or a photon, whereas reflection only bounces back the incident particle or wave.
• The wavelength of the incident wave can change due to scattering, but it cannot change due to reflection.
• Reflection is easily observable, whereas observation of scattering requires advanced equipment.
• The low of reflection holds to any reflective material whereas the equations for scattering is dependent on the materials and conditions used.