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What is Mirror?

  • Author:Admin
  • Source:Wikipedia
  • Release on :2016-09-05
A mirror is an object that reflects light in such a way that, for incident light in some range of wavelengths, the reflected light preserves many or most of the detailed physical characteristics of the original light. This is different from other light-reflecting objects that do not preserve much of the original wave signal other than color and diffuse reflected light.

The most familiar type of mirror is the plane mirror, which has a flat screen surface. Curved mirrors are also used, to produce magnified or diminished images or focus light or simply distort the reflected image.

Mirrors are commonly used for personal grooming or admiring oneself (where they are also called looking-glasses), decoration, and architecture. Mirrors are also used in scientific apparatus such as telescopes and lasers, cameras, and industrial machinery. Most mirrors are designed for visible light; however, mirrors designed for other wavelengths ofelectromagnetic radiation are also used.



Manufacturing: 

Mirrors are manufactured by applying a reflective coating to a suitable substrate. The most common substrate is glass, due to its transparency, ease of fabrication, rigidity, hardness, and ability to take a smooth finish. The reflective coating is typically applied to the back surface of the glass, so that the reflecting side of the coating is protected from corrosion and accidental damage by the glass on one side and the coating itself and optional paint for further protection on the other.

In classical antiquity, mirrors were made of solid metal (bronze, later silver) and were too expensive for widespread use by common people; they were also prone to corrosion. Due to the low reflectivity of polished metal, these mirrors also gave a darker image than modern ones, making them unsuitable for indoor use with the artificial lighting of the time (candles or lanterns).[citation needed]

The method of making mirrors out of plate glass was invented by 16th-century Venetian glassmakers on the island of Murano, who covered the back of the glass with mercury, obtaining near-perfect and undistorted reflection. For over one hundred years, Venetian mirrors installed in richly decorated frames served as luxury decorations for palaces throughout Europe, but the secret of the mercury process eventually arrived in London and Paris during the 17th century, due to industrial espionage. French workshops succeeded in large-scale industrialization of the process, eventually making mirrors affordable to the masses, although mercury's toxicity remained a problem[citation needed].

In modern times, the mirror substrate is shaped, polished and cleaned, and is then coated. Glass mirrors are most often coated with silver[27] or aluminium, implemented by a series of coatings:[citation needed]

  1. Tin(II) chloride
  2. Silver
  3. Chemical activator
  4. Copper
  5. Paint

The tin(II) chloride is applied because silver will not bond with the glass. The activator causes the tin/silver to harden. Copper is added for long-term durability.[28] The paint protects the coating on the back of the mirror from scratches and other accidental damage.[citation needed]

In some applications, generally those that are cost-sensitive or that require great durability, mirrors are made from a single, bulk material such as polished metal.[citation needed] For technical applications such as laser mirrors, the reflective coating is typically applied by vacuum deposition on the front surface of the substrate. This eliminates refraction and double reflections (a weak reflection from the surface of the glass, and a stronger one from the reflecting metal) and reduces absorption of light by the mirror. Technical mirrors may use a silver, aluminium, or gold coating (the latter typically for infrared mirrors), and achieve reflectivities of 90–95% when new. A protective transparent overcoat may be applied to prevent oxidation of the reflective layer. Applications requiring higher reflectivity or greater durability, where wide bandwidth is not essential, use dielectric coatings, which can achieve reflectivities as high as 99.999% over a narrow range of wavelengths.



Applications:

Personal grooming

Mirrors are commonly used as aids to personal grooming. They may range from small sizes, good to carry with oneself, to full body sized; they may be handheld, mobile, fixed or adjustable. A classic example of the latter is the cheval glass, which may be tilted.

Safety and easier viewing

Convex mirrors
Convex mirrors provide a wider field of view than flat mirrors, and are often used on vehicles, especially large trucks, to minimize blind spots. They are sometimes placed at road junctions, and corners of sites such as parking lots to allow people to see around corners to avoid crashing into other vehicles or shopping carts. They are also sometimes used as part of security systems, so that a single video camera can show more than one angle at a time.
Mouth mirrors or "dental mirrors"
Mouth mirrors or "dental mirrors" are used by dentists to allow indirect vision and lighting within the mouth. Their reflective surfaces may be either flat or curved. Mouth mirrors are also commonly used by mechanics to allow vision in tight spaces and around corners in equipment.
Rear-view mirrors
Rear-view mirrors are widely used in and on vehicles (such as automobiles, or bicycles), to allow drivers to see other vehicles coming up behind them. On rear-view sunglasses, the left end of the left glass and the right end of the right glass work as mirrors.

One-way mirrors and windows

Main article: One-way mirror
One-way mirrors
One-way mirrors (also called two-way mirrors) work by overwhelming dim transmitted light with bright reflected light. A true one-way mirror that actually allows light to be transmitted in one direction only without requiring external energy is not possible as it violates the second law of thermodynamics: if one placed a cold object on the transmitting side and a hot one on the blocked side, radiant energy would be transferred from the cold to the hot object. Thus, though a one-way mirror can be made to appear to work in only one direction at a time, it is actually reflective from either side.
One-way windows
One-way windows can be made to work with polarized light in the laboratory without violating the second law. This is an apparent paradox that stumped some great physicists, although it does not allow a practical one-way mirror for use in the real world. Optical isolators are one-way devices that are commonly used with lasers.

Signalling

Main article: Heliograph

With the sun as light source, a mirror can be used to signal by variations in the orientation of the mirror. The signal can be used over long distances, possibly up to 60 kilometres on a clear day. This technique was used by Native American tribes and numerous militaries to transmit information between distant outposts.

Mirrors can also be used for search to attract the attention of search and rescue helicopters. Specialized signalling mirrors are available and are often included in military survival kits.