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I have read about refraction through a triangular prism,rainbow formation and other natural phenomena.They all told about the strong bending of violet light . I know that it has a shorter wavelength and high frequency.From the sources I searched I get to a conclusion that it is because of the above mentioned property.I also know that it has a smaller critical angle.what accounts for such properties?

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marked as duplicate by John Rennie visible-light Oct 16 at 16:41

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when light travels through a medium, it interacts with atoms or molecules in the medium. It brings temporary deformation of electron clouds near atoms or molecules and the energy retained is re-emitted without energy loss unless being absorbed by atoms or molecules in the medium. This interaction takes a little time and that's why light has different speed in different medium. Then why a violet light bends more stronger than other? this is because refractive index varies with wavelength(or frequency). As we know, light has same speed 'c' in the vacuum(refractive index=1), but has different speed in different medium depending on the wavelength. I recommend you to look up 'dispersion curve'.

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    $\begingroup$ This kind of rephrases the OP's question, without actually answering it. Why does the refractive index varies with wavelength? $\endgroup$ – Gert Oct 16 at 16:11

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