Light Reflection And Refraction Class 10 Notes Physics Science
Chapter 10

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    Light: Light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that allows the human eye to see or makes objects visible. It is also defined as visible radiation to the human eye. Photons, which are tiny packets of energy, are found in light.

    Reflection of light: The bouncing back of light in the same medium is called reflection of light.

    Reflection of light
      • Incident Ray: The light ray striking a reflecting surface is called the incident ray.
      • Point of Incidence: The point at which the incidence ray strikes the reflecting surface is called the Point of Incidence.
      • Reflected Ray: The light ray obtained after reflection from the surface in the same medium in which the incident ray is traveling is called Reflected ray.
      • Normal: The perpendicular drawn to the surface at the point of incidence is called the Normal.
      • Angle of Incidence: The angle which the incident ray makes with the normal at the point of incidence is called the angle of incidence.
      • Angle of Reflection: The angle which the reflected ray makes with the normal at the point of incidence is called the angle of reflection .

    Laws of Reflection

    The laws of reflection states that,

    (a) The incident ray, the reflected ray and the normal all lie in the same plane.

    (b) The angle of incidence ∠i =∠r  Angle of reflection.

    Types of Reflection:

    There are two types of reflection

        (a) Regular Reflection

        (b) Irregular Reflection

    (a) Regular Reflection: When all reflected rays are parallel to each other, the reflection is called regular reflection. Clear image is formed in case of regular reflection.

    (b) Irregular Reflection: When reflected rays are not parallel to each other, the reflection is called irregular reflection.We call it as diffused reflection.

    Types of Reflection

    Reflection of Light by Plane Mirror

    Following are the characteristics of an image formed by the plane mirror:

      • Image is always virtual and erect.
      • Size of the image is equal to the size of the object.
      • Image is as far behind the mirror as the object is in front of it.
      • Image is laterally inverted.

    Lateral Inversion: When an object is placed in front of a plane mirror, then the right side of the object appears to become the left side of the image; and the left side of the object appears to become the right side of the image.This change of sides of an object and its mirror image is called as Lateral Inversion.

    Spherical Mirror

    There are two types of spherical mirrors,

    1. Concave Mirror

    2. Convex Mirror

    (a) Concave Mirror: A concave mirror has a reflective surface that is curved inward.

    (b) Convex Mirror: A convex mirror is a diverging mirror in which the reflective surface bulges towards the light source.

    Spherical Mirror

    Reflection of Light by Concave Mirror

    Some Important terms

    1. Pole: The center of the reflecting surface of a spherical mirror is called pole.

    2. Centre of curvature: The center of the sphere formed by the reflecting part of a spherical mirror is called the center of curvature. It is generally denoted by C.
    3. Principal axis: This is normal to the mirror at its pole.The straight line joining the Pole of the mirror and the Centre of curvature of a spherical mirror is called the Principal Axis.
    4. Radius of curvature: It is the radius of the sphere formed by the reflecting part of the sphere.It is represented as R.
    5. Focus: The Focus of a Concave Mirror is a point on the Principal Axis at which the light rays incident parallel to the principal axis meet after reflection from the mirror.It is represented as F .

    6. Focal length: The distance of focus from the Pole of the mirror is called the Focal Length of the mirror.It is represented by f.
    7. Aperture: The part of the mirror which can be exposed to the incident light is called the aperture.
    concave mirror

    Relation between focal length and Radius of curvature R = 2f

    Rules for Obtaining Images of Concave Mirror

    1. A line joining the center of curvature to any point on the surface of the mirror is always normal to it. 
    concave mirror 1
    concave mirror
    concave mirror 3
    1. A Ray of light incident parallel to the Principal Axis , after Reflection  will either pass through focus.
    concave mirror
    concave mirror (a)
    concave mirror (b)
    1. A Ray of light passing through the Focus , gets reflected parallel to the principal axis of the concave mirror.
    concave mirror
    concave mirror (a)
    concave mirror (b)

    Formation of Images of Concave Mirrors

    Position of the Object Position of the Image Size of the Image Nature of the Image
    At infinity At focus, F Highly diminished and pointed in size Inverted and real
    Beyond C Between F and C Diminished Inverted and real
    At C At C Same size Inverted and real
    Between C and F Beyond C Enlarged Inverted and real
    At F At infinity Highly enlarged Inverted and real
    Between F and P Behind the mirror Enlarged Erect and virtual

    Formation of Image of Convex Mirror

    Position of the object Position of the image Size of the image Nature of the image
    At infinity At focus, F, behind the mirror Highly diminished and pointed in size Virtual and erect
    Between infinity and pole of the mirror Between P and F, behind the mirror Diminished Virtual and erect

    Uses of concave mirror: Shaving mirror,dentist mirror,torch mirror

    Uses of convex mirror: Rear view mirror,shop security mirror

    Mirror Formula

    A formula which gives the Relationship between Image distance ( v ) , object distance ( u ) and focal Length ( f ) of a mirror , is known as the mirror formula .



    v = distance of image from mirror

    u = distance of object from mirror

    f = focal length of mirror

    Magnification produced by a mirror is defined as the ratio of the size of the image to the size of the object.

    Magnification: Height of image / Height of object


    where h’ is the height of image

    h is the height of the object.

    v = image distance

    u = object distance

    If magnification is POSITIVE, then  the image is UPRIGHT.

    If magnification is NEGATIVE then  the image is INVERTED.

    Refraction: Change in the direction of propagation of a ray of light, when it travels obliquely from one transparent medium to another, is called refraction of light.


    Laws of Refraction

    1. The incident ray, the refracted ray and the normal to the interface of two transparent media at the point of incidence, all lie in the same plane.
    2. The ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction is a constant, for the light of a given colour and for the given pair of media. This law is also known as Snell’s law of refraction.

    $$1\mu_2=\frac{\text{sin i}}{\text{sin r}}$$

    Refractive Index

    The refractive index of medium 2 w.r.t medium 1 is given by the ratio of the speed  of light in medium 1 and the speed of light in medium 2.

    n21=speed of light in medium 1 / speed of light in medium 2 $$=\frac{\text{v}_1}{\text{v}_2}$$

    Refractive index of a medium depends upon

    1. Nature of the material of the medium ,

    2. Density of the medium,

    3. Colour or wavelength of light,

    Spherical Lens

    A lens is an optical device bounded by one or two spherical surfaces that is used to bend light in a specific way,

    There are two type of lens

    1. Concave lens
    2. Convex lens

    Converging lens: A converging lens bends light so that the light rays come together at a point

    Diverging lens: A diverging lens bends light so it spreads light apart instead of coming together.

    Spherical Lens


    The centre of the spherical refracting surface of the lens is called the pole. It is the point where the principal axis meets the surface of the lens.

    Optical Centre

    The point on the principal axis at the centre of the lens is called the optical centre.

    Centre of Curvature

    A lens has two spherical surfaces; these two spherical surfaces form a part of a sphere. The centre of these spheres is known as the centre of curvature.

    Principal Axis

    The principal axis is an imaginary line passing through the centres of curvature and the pole.


    The area of the lens suitable for refraction is called aperture. The aperture of the lens is the effective diameter of its light-transmitting area.


    Focus is the point onto which collimated light parallel to the axis is focused. 

    Image formation by Convex Lens
    Object location Image location Image nature Image size
    Infinity At F2 Real and Inverted Diminished, point sized
    Beyond 2F1 Between 2F2 and F2 Real and Inverted Diminished
    Between 2F1 and F1 Beyond 2F2 Real and Inverted Enlarged
    At F1 At infinity Real and Inverted Infinitely large or highly enlarged
    At 2F1 At 2F2 Real and Inverted Same size
    Between F1 and Pole On the same side as the object Virtual and Erect Enlarged
    Image formation by Concave Lens
    Object Location Image Location Image Nature Image Size
    Infinity At F1 Virtual and Erect Highly diminished, point-sized
    Beyond Infinity and Optical Centre Between Focus (F1) and Optical center (O) Virtual and Erect Diminished

    Uses of Spherical Lens

    Applications such as visual aids: spectacles, binoculars, magnifying lens, telescopes.

    Lens Formula

    The Relationship between  object distance ( u ) , Image Distance ( v ) and the Focal Length ( f ) of a lens is called Lens Formula .


    Magnification Formula

    The magnification of a lens is defined as the ratio of the height of an image to the height of an object. It is also given in terms of image distance and object distance. It is equal to the ratio of image distance to that of object distance.


    Where m= magnification

    h’= height of the image

    h = height of an object

    v is the image distance

    u is the object distance

    Power of a Lens

    Power of a lens is the reciprocal of its focal length i.e $$\frac{1}{\text{f}}$$(in metre). The SI unit of power of a lens is dioptre (D).

    What are Light Reflection and Refraction?