Change in the direction of propagation of a wave when its transmitting medium changes.

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1answer
867 views

What do physicists mean when they say “speed of light”?

Does it make sense to say, "The speed of light varies?" Some may say right off the bat "Yes, it changes as a wave passes through a different medium." However, I'd like to say no, because when I hear ...
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2answers
380 views

Air vs Glass refraction coefficient

I have a rather strange question, let's say I can play with the temperature and atmospheric pressure conditions in a sealed room. What will I need to do to make the air's refraction coefficient ...
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6answers
4k views

Why does light change direction when it travels through glass?

This was explained to me many years ago, by a physics teacher, with the following analogy: "If someone on the beach wants to reach someone else that is in the water, they will try to travel as much ...
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0answers
150 views

Modeling a spray painted polyurethane surface reflection

I'm modeling light interaction/reflection from a fiberglass surface with polyurethane epoxy (that is very reflective) that has been spray painted with a matte black paint. I'm looking for some input ...
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1answer
373 views

Does coverslip thickness matter for high NA oil immersion objectives?

This question is related to Impact of covering glass on lens performance. I use a 63x TIRF objective with a numerical aperture of 1.46 and oil immersion. The immersion oil has an index of ...
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0answers
300 views

What defines the thickness of a Nomarski prism?

Lets say I want to design a Nomarski prism that would split the ordinary and extraordinary beam by an angle of 0.32 mrad. I used a raytracer to find the internal angle between the quartz wedges. ...
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4answers
2k views

What really cause light/photons to appear slower in media?

I know that if we solve the Maxwell equation, we will end up with the phase velocity of light being related to the permeability and the permittivity of the material. But this is not what I'm ...
9
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2answers
294 views

Effect of gravitation on light

Einstein predicted that the gravitational force can act on light. This was verified in one solar eclipse that light from a star near to the sun's disc bent due to Sun's gravity as predicted. Since ...
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2answers
2k views

intensifying a light source

When trying to intensify a beam of light by refracting it through a lens, (as in a lighthouse fresnel system or similar railroad style switch lamp from years past), is the beam intensity increased by ...
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1answer
698 views

Refractive index of organic solvents in near-infrared

I wonder if the refractive index of acetone, ethanol, methanol, heptane was measured in the range above 830 nm. The site refractiveindex.info provides it only for visible, and I couldn't find any ...
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3answers
866 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
4
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1answer
553 views

The Interactions of Light and Matter

So basically, I was trying to find a good answer to the question of how light interacts matter. Namely on the quantum level what causes matter to appear transparent, reflective, opaque, etc I came ...
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3answers
651 views

Gravitational lensing or cloud refraction?

My current understanding of gravitational lensing follows When a star or other massive body passes between us and another star, the phenomenon generally labeled 'gravitational lensing' occurs. The ...
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1answer
1k views

What determines how much light is reflected and refracted?

I'm currently working on a physics-based puzzle game with light refraction. I've read about the reflection/refraction incidence ratio, and how it's the proportion of the sine values of the angle of ...
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3answers
983 views

Reconciling refraction with particle theory and wave theory

I have searched the web for good answers to why refraction occurs when light moves from one medium to another with different density. I have limited background in physics and want to know if there is ...
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4answers
5k views

Eyes open under water

Yesterday I looked underwater with my eyes open (and no goggles) and I realized I can't see anything clearly. Everything looks very, very blurry. My guess is that the eye needs direct contact with air ...
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2answers
3k views

How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?

How is the following classical optics phenomenon explained in quantum electrodynamics? Reflection and Refraction Are they simply due to photons being absorbed and re-emitted? How do we get to ...
2
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1answer
158 views

Reflected and refracted wave sphased

When we derive refraction and reflection laws for a generical plane wave on a surface, we say that reflected and refracted must be in phase with the incident wave. Why a medium cannot do a sphased ...
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2answers
5k views

How does a photon travel through glass?

This was discussed in an answer to a related question but I think that it deserves a separate and, hopefully, more clear answer. Consider a single photon ($\lambda$=532 nm) traveling through a plate ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium?

So light travels slower in glass (for example) than in a vacuum. What causes light to slow down? Or: How does it slow down? If light passes through the medium, is it not essentially traveling in the ...
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3answers
3k views

How can I determine transmission/reflection coefficients for light?

When light rays reflect off a boundary between two materials with different indices of refraction, a lot of the sources I've seen (recently) don't discuss the relation between the amplitude (or ...