AQA GCSE Physics Unit 3 - Mirrors and Lenses

A summary of the images produced by the different types of mirrors and lenses.

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Plane mirror

Plane mirror - forms an image that is:

  • virtual
  • the same size as the object
  • upright
  • laterally inverted
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Convex mirror

Convex mirror forms an image that:

  • appears to be formed at a single point behind the mirror
  • is smaller than the object
  • is virtual
  • is upright
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Concave mirror

Concave mirror forms an image depending on the distance of the object from the mirror. it always forms an image inside its curve where all the rays of light converge. This is called the focal point.

If the distance between the object and the mirror is less than the distance between the mirror and the focal point (F), the image produced is:

  • virtual
  • upright
  • larger than the object

If the distance between the object and the mirror is greater than the distance between the mirror and the focal point, then the image produced is:

  • inverted (upside down)
  • laterally inverted
  • real (the rays of light actually meet)
  • of varying size, depending on the distance from the mirror (the greater the distance, the smaller the object)
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Lenses

There are two types of lens:

  • diverging (concave)
  • converging (convex)

A diverging lens refracts rays of light outwards so they appear to have come from one point, the focus (F). Only a ray which meets the lens at 90 degrees will pass straight through the lens. The image produced by a diverging lens is:

  • virtual
  • upright
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Converging Lens

A converging lens refracts rays of light inwards at the two curved boundaries so they meet at the focus. Like a diverging lens, only the ray which meets the lens at 90 degrees will pass straight through the lens. The image produced by the lens depends on the distance of the object from the lans.

If the distance between the object to the lens is less than the distance from the lens to the focal point, then the image produced is:

  • virtual
  • upright
  • enlarged

If the distance between the object and the lens is greater than the distance from the lans to the focal point then the image produced is:

  • real
  • inverted
  • laterally inverted

*used in a camera*

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Comments

.Daniel

Great guide, thanks - now just to find one that'll show me how to draw those diagrams...

tej

these are really good but i agree that diagrams may help improve it but this is helpful nonetheless ! thank you : )

Catriona Paton

Thanks guys, I agree, the diagrams help because they're really tricky to draw but it's hard to move pictures around on these cards...:/

Kirsten Jackson

oh my gosh, thankyou so much! i have a physics test in half an hour and these have helped loads!

Beth Woodward

This has just saved my life for my exam tomorrow!!! Thank-you soooo much :)

jaye

These are great there better than my teacher's explanation and for the diagram google images and quite a few come up, it's hard to find them labelled good :)

thanks again ^_^

Julia Lawson-Johns

Thanks so much. I've been looking for a something which explains the topic clearly. This is much better than my teacher's explanation, he even admitted he didn't understand the subject! 

Miss KHP


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