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Penetration depth

Penetration Depth is a measure of how deep light or any electromagnetic radiation can penetrate into a material. It is defined as the depth at which the intensity of the radiation inside the material falls to 1/e (about 37%) of the original value at the surface.

When electromagnetic radiation is incident on the surface of a material, part of it is reflected and part transmitted into the material. This EM Wave interacts with the atoms and electrons inside the material. Depending on the nature of the material, the EM Wave might travel very far into the material, or on the other hand die out very quickly. For a given material, penetration depth can vary for different wavelength of EM Wave, and usually, is not a fixed constant.

According to Beer-Lambert law, the intensity of an EM wave inside a material falls off exponentially from the surface as

I(z) = I0e − αz

If δ denotes the penetration depth, we have,

\delta = \frac{1}{\alpha}

See also

  • Extinction coefficient
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Penetration_depth". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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