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Activity Discussion Science & Technology Does an atom have a color? Reply To: Does an atom have a color?

  • Shivani

    July 2, 2021 at 10:20 am
    Not Helpful

    The answer depends on how you define “color”. The word “color” means a visible light that has a certain frequency, or combination of visible light waves. Therefore, the word “color” refers to the frequency content of any type of visible light. Whenever visible light is present, we can define it as a specific color. With this in mind, there are many different ways something can reflect or emit visible light. So, there are many ways something can be “colored”. While a single atom, by itself, can reflect or emit visible light in a number of ways, it does not participate in all the ways. If you explain that “color” is so small that it only includes certain paths, atoms are colorless. If you define “color” in more detail, then the atoms are colored. Let’s look at the different ways in which an object reflects or emits visible light and uses each one atom.

    red apple

    Most everyday items are color-coded due to over-display, subtraction, and absorption.

    1. reflection refraction, and absorption

    The most common, everyday way in which things can send light that is visible to our eyes is to show quantity, subtraction, and absorption. These three effects are all part of the same mechanism of action: the interaction of the outer light with multiple atoms simultaneously. When white light, which contains all colors, strikes the surface of a red apple, light, orange, green, and blue waves absorb atoms of apple skin and turn them into heat, while red waves are most visible back to our eyes. Some light is also transmitted by the skin of the apple and is slightly bent as it moves. We call this the transfer of bright light “refraction”. Some things like glass transmit a lot of light while other things like apples transmit very little.

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