Light, Sound and Waves

Episode 316: Preparation for reflection and refraction topic

Teaching Guidance for 16-19 IOP TAP

The demonstration of refraction using a ripple tank is tricky, and it is a good idea to practise this.

Main aims of this topic

Reflection and refraction

Students will:

  • know how to justify the law of reflection by a wave diagram
  • know how to justify Snell’s law in terms of wave velocities
  • be able to perform calculations involving the refractive index
  • be able to perform calculations involving critical angle
  • know the benefits of fibre optic communication

Prior knowledge

Students should know:

  • the law of reflection
  • the law of refraction, or at least have a qualitative knowledge of refraction

Where this leads

This work explains the behaviour of light in terms of waves; this is particularly important as diffraction and interference follow (as the result of superposition of waves).

is formalised by Law of Reflection
can be exhibited by Progressive Wave
has the special case Total Internal Reflection
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