I'm doing a study on surfaces and I would like to describe all of the surfaces that I expect to encounter in the field and determine which ones will be the most difficult to detect. To do this, I need to determine what attributes in a surface I need to consider. I have no experience in optics so I'm asking this question here in hopes that someone could save me from overlooking important factors.
Your question lacks important parameters: in addition to the qualities of the surface or material that Pranav mentions, you need to be able to define what "detect" means, what sort of light sensors you think you want to use, what the interfering noise sources are, and more.
If your target surface is not active (like a lightbulb, generating its own output) then you need to know as a minimum what the illuminating sources are. Then you can calculate, based on surface qualities such as BRDF the expected signal magnitude at your sensor location. But there's a huge difference between saying "Look out! you're going to hit that thing!" and saying "Hey, there's a chunk of rock with 20% silicates and 1% manganese at about 240 Kelvins over there"