In physics, a wavefront is the locus of points having the same phase. Since infrared, optical, x-ray and gamma-ray frequencies are so high, the temporal component of electromagnetic waves is usually ignored at these wavelengths, and it is only the phase of the spatial oscillation that is described...
at an interface between two different
An optical medium is material through which electromagnetic waves propagate. It is a form of transmission medium. The permittivity and permeability of the medium define how electromagnetic waves propagate in it...
so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated. Common examples include the reflection of light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...
and water waves. The law of reflection says that for specular reflection
Specular reflection is the mirror-like reflection of light from a surface, in which light from a single incoming direction is reflected into a single outgoing direction...
the angle at which the wave is incident on the surface equals the angle at which it is reflected. Mirror
A mirror is an object that reflects light or sound in a way that preserves much of its original quality prior to its contact with the mirror. Some mirrors also filter out some wavelengths, while preserving other wavelengths in the reflection...
s exhibit specular reflection.
Acoustics is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics...
, reflection causes echoes
In audio signal processing and acoustics, an echo is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. Typical examples are the echo produced by the bottom of a well, by a building, or by the walls of an enclosed room and an empty room. A true echo is a single...
and is used in sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...