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The reflection and transmission properties of finely divided fractal layers are investigated and characterized. The results for electromagnetic or optical waves normally incident upon generalized Cantor bar fractal multilayers are found for various fractal dimensions and stages of growth. A new exact self‐similar algorithm is described which makes use of the self‐similarity of the structures to clearly display the underlying physics. This fractal computational scheme provides the reflection and transmission coefficients for fractally distributed layers with extreme economy when compared to traditional approaches. Finally, a method for extracting fractal descriptors from scattered data is discussed. High‐ and low‐ frequency regimes are examined.