When light strikes an object, some wavelengths are absorbed and their energy is converted to heat, others undergo reflection or transmission.

  • When light is absorbed by an object or medium, its energy is transferred to electrons and emitted as heat.
  • Absorption of a particular wavelength of light into a material takes place when the frequency of the wave matches the frequency of electrons orbiting atomic nuclei.
  • Electrons selectively absorb photons with matching frequencies.
  • As electrons orbiting atomic nuclei absorb energy, they vibrate more vigorously causing atoms to collide with one which produces heat.
  • When light is reflected off a surface it bounces off at the same wavelength with little or no change in energy.