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Q & A: sound reflecting light

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Most recent answer: 12/09/2010
Q:
In any way can sound reflect light or vice verse?
- Barrington Martin
reynoldsburg, Ohio U.S.A
A:
Yes, sound waves change the density (or more generally, refractive index) of the material they're traveling in. Light waves diffract off that varying index of refraction. This is a standard process used in studying materials, called Brillouin scattering, The opposite process, sound bouncing off of light, tends to be too weak to be of much routine use.

Mike W.

(published on 12/09/2010)

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