Refractive Index

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  • Created by: Jo Wells
  • Created on: 22-04-13 19:14
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  • Refractive Index
    • refraction is caused by waves changing speed
      • waves change direction when they enter a different medium - caused by the change in density
      • when waves slow down they bend towards the normal
      • when light enters glass/plastic it slows down (to about 2/3 of its speed in air)
      • if a wave hits a boundary at 90 degrees it won't change direction, but will slow down
      • when light hits a different medium, some of the light will be reflected
        • depends on the angle of incidence
    • every transparent material has a refractive index
      • refractive index of a medium is the ratio of speed of light in a vacuum to speed of light in that medium
      • angle of incidence (i), angle of refraction (r) & refractive index (n) are all linked
        • refractive index (n) = sin i/ sin r
      • when an incident ray passes from air into another material, the angle of refraction of the ray depends on the refractive index of the material
        • angle of incidence (i), angle of refraction (r) & refractive index (n) are all linked
          • refractive index (n) = sin i/ sin r

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