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Equation Of the Week #3: Index of Refraction

Posted by DarthWho on April 24, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Sorry for the rather simple equation this week. Finals are coming up so I do not have alot of time. Anyway onto what you are really reading this for:

n = c/v

n is the index of refration and is unit less

c is the speed of light in a vacuum (299,792,458 m/s) any unit system may be used

v is the velocity of light in the substanced again any unit system may be used but it must be the same system used for the speed of light.

Next week:the first mathematic identity Euler's Identity

Happy Easter

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1 Comment

Reply john
2:58 AM on September 29, 2011 
It is actually a rather interesting equation
For n can vary from one place to another
One of the first things we did with lasers was admire CURVED light beams

To do this carefully float water (low n) on top of glycerin (hig n)
The light - ike men marching on a ploughed fierd always swerves toward the higher n (It slows them down on that side)

Also because light is periodic (waves) it is very sensitive to obstacles spaced evenly (like molecules and crystals)
So if Nature does not provide the n you'd like you can sythhesise it (cheat) by serried arrarys of obstacles
This is how laser mirrors work, and lots of hsarmonic generation ideas
Works with sound too, of course

And the Brilluin INTERACTION of light and sound is a GREAT area (steered laser beams, parametric amplifiers (no noise) of immense gain.