A New Theory on the Reflection of Light

Aug 31, 2020
(Note from the author: A true understanding of this new theory on the reflection of light can only be had after reading The Electromagnetic Universe. That having been said I am sure anyone who reads this thread will find it both informative and interesting.)

On the reflection of light from a surface

Light and optics are of great importance in physics. In fact one might go so far as to say that light and electromagnetic radiation are the defining paradigm of our experience in the Universe. This being so, it is distressing to note that the quantum mechanics explanation on the reflection of light is so nebulous as to be completely unstructured and irrelevant. Even according to its own findings the quantum mechanics explanation on the reflection of light is inconsistent.

Max Planck was able to come to the conclusion that energy was quantised, namely that energy was not emitted as a continuous spectrum of energy as had been thought to be the case but as tiny discrete individual packets of energy that he termed as quanta. If now one considers the case of light (photons) reflecting off a mirror, does it make sense to regard this light as an electromagnetic wave? Consider the energy of a wave is not quantised, it is dispersive. When a wave is dispersive it means that as it travels its energy is evenly distributed throughout its extent and consequently experiences an overall reduction in energy for the further it travels. All waves behave in this manner, therefore for quantum mechanics to regard a reflection as the interaction of a photon with all of the atoms in a reflecting surface, is surely one of the biggest travesties in physics. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t agree with the stated quantum mechanics belief that all energy is quantised. In fact I would go so far as to state that this explanation for reflected light does not even fall within the parameters of quantum mechanics. How can energy be quantised in the form of individual photon energies if the photon is interacting with all of the atoms in the reflecting surface, as claimed by quantum mechanics? Or how can the photon then go onto interact with electrons within those atoms? It is a travesty of an explanation for how the reflection of light takes place. This is the reason that Maxwell’s equations by themselves are no longer sufficient to explain how light propagates. The quantum mechanics attempt to superimpose a particle theory onto Maxwell’s wave theory through quantisation and renormalisation is pathetic. It shows a pitiful lack of innovative thought or the out of the box thinking that is almost a maxim of quantum mechanics.

It can be seen that the quantum mechanics argument is that the average wave-length of light is about 500 nm (5 x 10^-7 m) while the size of an atom might be 0.5 nm ( 5 x 10^-10 m) and the size of an electron is 10^-13 cm(0.001 nm) . This means that the incoming 500 nm wavelength is 1000 times bigger than the atom and 1,000,000 times bigger than the electron. As such it should be obvious that any such huge wave front is going to react, not with an individual atom but with a whole collection of atoms forming a surface. Here is a quote on how light reacts with a mirror surface:

“ Photons instead interact with all of the electrons in a mirror simultaneously. They are not absorbed by a single atom and then re-radiated. If they were absorbed by a single atom, then the result would be that they would not reflect instantaneously, they would not maintain coherence with other photons, they would not obey the laws of reflection, and they would not maintain polarization.”


"the process is coherent--- the same photon is bouncing off all the atoms at once, and you only get constructive interference when the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. The condition is that the surface is smooth on the scale of the wavelength of light, so that the light can excite each atom independently, and coherently add up all their contributions.

Even Nobel laureate Richard Feynman gave the ( albeit unwillingly) same explanation:

"So the theory of quantum electrodynamics gave the right answer - the middle of the mirror is the important part for reflection - but this correct result came out at the expense of believing that light reflects all over the mirror , and having to add a bunch of little arrows together whose sole purpose was to cancel out. (Richard Feynman 1985)

If this view is taken it once again raises huge problems. It has been indisputably proved, over and over again, that electrons change their energies (orbits) by emitting or absorbing photons of certain frequencies. When the question of size of the wave (photon)is brought into the equation, how is it resolved? Does the electron emit the photon (wave) as the result of an energy collective of all the atoms in its vicinity pooling their oscillations so that such a wave is released or what? It is confusing.

The Gestalt Aether Theory on the Reflection of Light

The Gestalt Aether Theory on the reflection of light that is herein proposed offers a solution that deals with such situations by stipulating in clear and unequivocal terms that the individual electron (yes individual electron and not electron cloud) emits and absorbs individual photons. How?

Gestalt Aether Theory maintains that the reflection of light is due to the continuous and sustained absorption and emission of photons at the frequency of the incoming light. How does this happen? Look once again at the process of the formation of a photon as elucidated by Gestalt Aether Theory. When the electron needs to change its energy it emits or absorbs pulses of electrical energy, these pulses of energy constitute the photon:

photon emission.jpg

The pulses of energy emitted by the electron are polarised resulting in the formation of a dipole electromagnetic field around the photon as can be seen in the diagram given above. Notice how many degrees of freedom this lends to the electron in terms of maintaining its energy. Even very minute changes in energy can be achieved. Further the process is effortless. It is natural for the electron to mediate its energy in this manner. One consequence of this mediation of energy is that the initial pulses of electrical energy emitted by the electron will be stronger than subsequent pulses of electrical energy giving rise to polarisation of the pulses of energy as seen below:


The pulses of energy separated by a dielectric lends to the photon the attributes of a capacitor and therefore of being able to preserve its energy intact for a long time. Thus the wavelength has nothing to do with the size of the photon or of its physical dimensions, which remain the same as when the photon was first formed. This is an extremely important point to remember; a photon emitted by an electron does not grow larger, expand or increase in size as it travels, it maintains the same exact size as it did when first emitted. Apart from that consider the fact that these photons are emitted by electrons therefore they consist of a tiny energy core surrounded by a much larger dipole electromagnetic field. Thus since these photons are of such a size that they can be emitted by electrons it follows, since they maintain their energy and therefore their size intact, that they can also be absorbed by electrons. This theory has the wonderful advantage in that 'one size fits all' , at least as far as optical frequencies, wavelengths and energies are concerned. Optical wavelengths and frequencies are no longer a function of length or breadth, they are a function of time. Radio-waves work in a slightly different manner which will be explained in my next article : "A New Theory of Radio-waves". Further the wave or dipolar electromagnetic field surrounding the core energy of the photon serves as a tag to identify the photon's energy to an assembly of atoms, the photon will then home in on an atom that requires that particular energy, leaving alone all of the other atoms. So, discrete energy absorption and emission through photons, is the order of the day, no waves.

The photon is identified by its energy. This property of the photon being able to maintain its energy (identity) intact is the distinguishing feature of Gestalt Aether Theory. Thus when a photon approaches an atom its energy is communicated to the electrons in the atom through its energy field, it is then either rejected or absorbed. If it is absorbed the process is achieved as easily as when it was emitted. There is no question of a photon being too big to be absorbed by an electron. The question does not arise, and individual photons are absorbed by individual electrons as easily as they are emitted without any problems of size arising. This is possible because of the structure of the photon. The absorption process happens in reverse to that of emission with the electron absorbing the bands of energy of the photon. The absorbed photon is the same size as the emitted photon. So the process of absorption is as follows. The photon identifies itself to the electrons within the atom through its energy field, if the atom requires that energy it is absorbed by an electron, if not it is rejected.

It is unanimously accepted that the electrons in an atom (the atom as a whole) can only absorb those energies accessible to it; all other photon energies will be rejected. So some photons will be absorbed while others will pass through the atom without any interaction. Both quantum mechanics and standard theory have theorised that when a photon is absorbed by an electron in an atom, the electron re-emits the photon at a random direction and time. GAT states that this assumption that electrons in the atom emit photons in random directions and at anomalous times is completely false. GAT states that the absorption and emission of photons by the atom is closely regulated. GAT explains this interaction as follows:-

When a photon is absorbed by an electron in an atom, the absorption is governed by the physical laws of the conservation of energy and momentum prevailing in classical physics. Thus when an electron absorbs an incoming photon it balances the force of recoil against the massive nucleus of the atom. What is seldom taken into account is the size of an electron as compared to the size of the nucleus. On average the electron is 2000 times smaller than a proton (nucleus of hydrogen atom) translating this into figures means that if the electron is one inch across, the nucleus would be more than 166 feet across, this is a massive difference in size.

So great is this difference in size that the nucleus can for all purposes be treated as a perfectly flat, massive and smooth plane surface against which the electron recoils on absorbing or emitting a photon. Thus when an electron absorbs a photon, it recoils from the surface of the nucleus. What neither quantum mechanics nor standard theory seem to have taken into account is that the electron might recoil from the massive nucleus, not in a random fashion as has hitherto been surmised, but following the laws of plane geometry. Thus according to Gestalt Aether Theory, the process of reflection of light is governed by the electron absorbing a photon recoiling from the nucleus in accordance with the law of the angle of reflection equal the angle of incidence, emits a photon again retraces the same exact path bounces of the nucleus and ends up in its starting position where it absorbs another photon. This process takes place at the rate of several hundreds of terahertz per second. Thus according to Gestalt Aether Theory photons are emitted by the atom in accordance with the classical laws of reflection. The reflected photons form a line or ray of connected photons moving at the speed of light. Look at the image below:


Here it is possible to see that an electron occupying the nth shell in an atom absorbs a photon that is incident at a certain angle to the normal, the force of recoil bounces the electron off the nucleus at an angle identical to and on the same plane but opposite to the incident angle, on reaching the nth shell, the electron re-emits the absorbed photon and the same path is followed in reverse so that the electron again ends up in its original position, where it absorbs another photon and the process repeats. This process takes place at the rate of several hundreds of trillions (10^14) times per second for as long as the atom is being irradiated under the same conditions. Thus not only are photons absorbed in accordance with their frequency but are also emitted (in the case of reflection) at the same frequency and the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. As proof of this concept one has only to look at atomic clocks where electrons oscillate with the frequency of incoming microwave radiation. The same principle applies to all electrons and their interaction with radiation. If this were not true, it would raise the question in anthropomorphic terms, of how individual photons know the orientation of the mirror so as to bounce off in the correct direction? The explanation for reflection given here follows closely the observations of classical physics, where the two laws of reflections are as follows:

The incident and reflected rays lie in the same plane as the normal to the reflecting surface at the point of incidence.

The angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. θi = θr

Notice that the GAT explanation of reflection closely emulates the classical explanation of reflection even though it is an explanation of reflection at the atomic level. This explanation has the great advantage of directly establishing a link between photon emission and frequency.

Consider how important this theory is. Firstly, the quantum mechanics theory on the reflection of light seems to be a mish-mash of classical ideas and esoteric QM concepts that do not have much empirical basis. Gestalt Aether Theory actually puts the theory of reflection on a sound logical footing. Reflection through the absorption and emission of photons by individual electrons was deemed to be impossible according to quantum mechanics because the quantum mechanics idea of the size of a photon was in error.

An interesting corollary to this discovery is that there is no question here of light travelling through countless extra dimensions, or that while travelling from point A to Point B light ceases to exist as something real from the moment it is produced but exists only as an abstract mathematical wave function till the time it is detected, This theory shows that both Newton’s idea of light travelling in straight lines and being composed of corpuscles or particles and Huygens idea where every point on a wave-front may be considered a source of secondary spherical wavelets which spread out in the forward direction at the speed of light. The new wave-front is the tangential surface to all of these secondary wavelets, were both correct observations on the manner in which light propagated.

Obviously the same explanation would also hold good for specular light, taking into account the change in physical parameters. This explanation of light incorporates an explanation of both Newton's observations that light travels in straight lines like a particle and Huygens explanation that light travels as a wave.


Diffuse Reflection of Light, Eugene Mansseh Berry, Iowa University Press

Light Show : Reflection and Absorption, Jack Torrence, Power Publications

Reflection of Light, Ronald Zeilke, Ohio State University Press, 1988

Manipulating Light, Darlene R Stille, Compass Point Books

Introduction to light: The physics of light, vision and colour, Gary Waldman , Dover Publications

Optics, Light and Matter, Benjamin Crowell, Fullerton
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Aug 31, 2020
In order to add depth to the explanation of reflection given in the OP and to give a better understanding of how it works, here is a brief annotation. Quantum mechanics seems to suggest that an electron absorbs a photon and then, or a little bit later re-emits the same or a slightly different photon. It is a leisurely process, with the electron jumping up or down by whatever level of energy it receives. While the basic mechanics might hold some truth, it is a far cry from reality. This view of photon-electron interaction is totally false and unacceptable. It is time to accept the fact that quantum mechanics is an old outdated occult theory full of esoteric beliefs that have no standing in reality. It is time to show quantum mechanics, or at least that part of it which is occult, the door. It is hugely old fashioned and hugely out of date. Let me illustrate:

Imagine you are sitting on a bench in a park. In front of you is a verdant green lawn, surrounded at its perimeter by flower beds. To the left are beds of dahlias of every imaginable hue, from shocking pink to yellows and reds, a little further on are brilliant salvia plants and next to them are beds of hydrangea and agapanthus. Behind the bench you are seated on is a large azalea bush, with its dark green leaves and delicate flowers. A lovely scene, right? But now try to imagine what is going on to bring all of these wonderful colours to your eyes.

Unimaginable trillions of electrons are oscillating at the unimaginable rate of hundreds of trillions of times per second, emitting photons at that rate in the form of straight lines or rays of light. These rays of light are interacting with the ‘virtual photon aether’ and spreading out in keeping with the inverse square law. If on average there are 10^24 atoms in every cubic centimetre and if every atom (on average) possesses multiple electrons, one can imagine the number of ‘rays’ of light being generated. The whole of the space surrounding the bench on which you are seated is filled with rays of light there is no empty space.

This is the reality, and the emission and absorption of photons is continuous: On earth the emission and absorption of photons goes on throughout the daylight hours, for as long as the atoms in the flowers, the leaves and the blades of grass are being irradiated with sunlight. But theoretically this process can continue for days or even weeks months and years or for as long as they are being irradiated. Trillions upon trillions of electrons are emitting hundreds of trillions of photons that form rays of light and the process continues for as long as the electrons are agitated by incoming radiation. This is what our world looks like.
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