Name: Robert F.
Can I bend white light greater then 90 degrees, and not
cause refraction (opening of the color spectrum)? If not white light
what about using a single spectrum? I am looking to see if the white
light (or an isolated spectrum) can leave an emitting source and pass
through and object (bending device) and make a turn greater then 90
degrees (greater then a right angle).
A back (or front) surfaced mirror does this.
First, opening of the white spectrum is called "Diffraction". Refraction is
in fact the bending of light due to passing from one material to another
(such as from air to glass). At only one surface, it is not possible to
cause refraction greater than 90 degrees. If there is more than one surface
involved(eg. air | glass | air | glass | air), and if the parts are shaped
and oriented properly, you can end up with light bent more than 90 degrees
from its original direction.
As for whether you get diffraction, that depends on what materials you use.
If all visible light travels at the same speed through all materials used
(if index of refraction is the same for all colors), then it would be
possible. I do not know of any such material, but there is no law that says
it cannot exist.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012