Say we have a light wave going from air to plastic, refractive indexes 1 and 1.5 respectively. What exactly is happening to the properties of the wave and why?

Taking wavespeed as v, frequency as f, wavelength in air as w and amplitude as a, how will these vary?

(Assuming the light hits at 0° and returns at 0° for simplicity sake)

  • $\begingroup$ You should check the Wikipedia article on Fresnel's equations. $\endgroup$ – my2cts Feb 13 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @my2cts Thanks for the reference, but I meant for more of a qualitative explanation of why the incoming wave properties (v, w, f and a) will be affected by the media boundary. Why won't the amplitude vary, and such. $\endgroup$ – IkelosOne Feb 13 at 19:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Fresnel's equations describe exactly what you appear to be asking. $\endgroup$ – my2cts Feb 13 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ One word: Fresnel! $\endgroup$ – Gert Feb 13 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @my2cts you're right, I didn't look into it enough. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – IkelosOne Feb 13 at 23:01

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