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I've always thought refractive index is dependent on the density of the material. The more denser, the more refraction. But kerosene whose density is higher than water has refractive index less than water. On running a google search,i found out that it is dependent on the atom types.But i am unable to understand how.Can someone please give me a simple explanation?


marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Carl Witthoft, Bernhard, JamalS, Brandon Enright Jan 11 '15 at 13:57

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  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of why does the optical media have different refractive indices? $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jan 11 '15 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ Instead of "always thought", how about doing a little research? There are plenty of introductory optics lectures online. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 11 '15 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft i've tried to , but all answers that i find are beyond my comfort zone .We just started optics in a very simple way in school. I was hoping for a simple explanation for the present till i can dig deep later. $\endgroup$ – SMcCK Jan 11 '15 at 15:12