Questions tagged [refraction]

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

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Reflection and transmission of EM waves

I'm reading "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Girffiths and the following assumption is confusing me: We have an EM wave inciding on a surface, Then, when applying the boundary ...
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How much does temperature affect the time of sunrise?

Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, or if my understanding of basic physics is wrong. Please feel free to correct me. As I understand it, if the Earth didn't have any atmosphere, then the ...
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Why do lens (convex) not introduce any path difference to light incident on it?

My understanding is that the top rays spend less time inside the lens where the speed of light is slow and the middle rays spend more time inside the lens so the time is kind of compensated . But I'm ...
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Is snow falling too fast or too reflective to produce rainbow?

Imagine millions of water molecules suspending in the air starts to turn into snow, I like to know the exact reason why we cannot have snow bow, is it due to the speed of each snow falling very fast ...
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Refraction of matter waves

My question is a bit messy, so here is the background: Normally the trajectory of a massive particle in the presence of a gravitational field is described in the context of general relativity. ...
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Are rainbows three dimensional? If so, what determines their depth? [duplicate]

I am wondering whether rainbows are three dimensional, and if so, what determine their depth? How to calculate the depth of a rainbow, given its radius? From what I understand, all rainbows are ...
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Why does reflection occur on transparent materials? [duplicate]

Why does reflection occur on transparent materials? For example, air/glass or air/water (two different interfaces) Mostly it's refraction that's occurring, but I also see some reflection. Why is that?...
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Why does light take the path taking the least time?

I know this question has been asked many time but my question is bit different here. What i mean by the above question is that I recently got to learn that light actually does not exclusively take the ...
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Evanescent wave in absorbing medium

Classic setup : Reflection and refraction with Snell-Descartes' law. Having 2 medium (1 and 2) with the normal n being oriented from 1 to 2 and placing ourselves in the incidence plane, we assume n ...
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Comparison of refractive index of red and blue coloured light

My text book gives $v/c$=refractive index as 1 of the formulas to calculate. Now, \begin{eqnarray} v({\rm red}) &>& v({\rm violet}) ~~~\mbox{and let glass be the medium} \\ \frac{v({\...
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How does refractive index increase in anomalous dispersion?

Refractive index generally increases with decrease in wavelength but in anomalous dispersion it decreases with decrease in wavelength. What causes it to be like that?
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Biconvex lenses in 2 media

The question is what is the formula of the focal length of a biconvex thin lens if object medium is water and the image medium is air. I know that we have: 1/f = (n-1)*(1/R1 - 1/R2) , if the medium ...
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What really is the speed of light in a medium/vacuum, group or phase velocity?

While reading about refractive index 2 terms popped up, group velocity which alway slows down in a medium and phase velocity which may exceed speed of light. Say in a complete vacuum and using laser ...
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Why does the sky look darker blue directly above me, but get lighter in the distant sky?

it seems that the sky looks a bit darker right above me, but if I look into the distance, I see a paler blue.
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If I put one of the slits from the Young's double slit experiment apparatus into a different medium what happens to the fringe width?

I recently learnt the young's double slit experiment and its basic formulas, but i wondered what would (mathematically) happen if i put one of the 2 slits into a refractive medium such as water or ...
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Rule of addition of velocities in water

Is the speed of light still the same for all inertial observers in water? If not, what are the rules of addition of velocities in water according to special relativity?
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Paint: “Darker When Dry”?

A great question I enjoy bringing up is why are things, in general, "darker when wet". This applies to porous and granular materials like wetted stone, paper, sand etc. It also comes up in painting ...
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Property of light in different media?

Shouldn't keeping a colored frame in front a flash light ( white light ) change its wavelength or frequency?But I have also learned that light doesn't change its frequency when going from one medium ...
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Can the Dirac Hamiltonian accommodate a variable speed of light?

The Dirac Hamiltonian has the form1 $$\left[\beta m c^2+c\sum_{n=1}^3\alpha_np_n\right]$$ where $\alpha_n$ and $\beta$ are Hermitian matrices, and $c$ is the speed of light. My question: Is there a ...
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Light hitting a GRIN (Gradient-index) lens at the optical angle

In the image below, rays of light are hitting the GRIN (Gradient-index) lens at the optical angle and then converge towards the optical axis. Why do they do this? The refractive index is only a ...
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Relative Permittivity in a “Good Conductor”

I have a question in which I need to show that sea water is effectively a "good conductor", when considering the propagation of radio waves of frequency $< 10^9$. We're given that the conductivity ...
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1answer
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What causes these diamonds in water droplets on a screen?

It was raining yesterday and the screen of my iPad ended up covered in varying sized water droplets. As you can see, the smallest water droplets look transparent, and then as the size increases the ...
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1answer
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Why is the thin prism always in the position of minimum deviation? [closed]

Our textbook says that a thin prism (a prism of angle less than 10°) is always in the position of minimum deviation, but doesn't provide any explanation as to why that it is. What would happen if I ...
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How do we know that light cannot travel faster than it does?

We assume the speed of light in vacuum is its maximum speed but can we not assume that it could be faster, or slower?
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Snell's law in vector form

Snell's law of refraction at the interface between 2 isotropic media is given by the equation: \begin{equation} n_1 \,\text{sin} \,\theta_1 = n_2 \, \text{sin}\,\theta_2 \end{equation} where $\theta_1$...
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working to understand virtual images

I'm starting to understand how to use lenses a bit more, but I'm still pretty lost. I'm building a project that's extremely similar to this one with the implementation. I think my biggest challenge ...
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What is the speed of a photon in water?

What is the speed of light in water? The speed of light in vacuum, divided by the index of refraction for water. And what is the speed of a photon in water?
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image formation by lenses

Why is the image formed by an object as described in the picture can be derived only from these three ray of lights?Every point on the object has multiple ray of lights going in every direction, how ...
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Value of complex angle in Snell's law

According to Snell's law: $$\sin \theta_t = \displaystyle \frac{n_1}{n_2} \sin \theta_i$$ where $\theta_i$ is the incidence angle in medium 1 and (after the ray crossed the interface between medium ...
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Does Snell's law still apply after total internal reflection has occurred?

Snell's law states that: \begin{align} n_1\sin\theta_1 &= n_2\sin\theta_2\, ,\\ \sin\theta_1 &= \frac{n_2}{n_1}\sin\theta_2\, ,\\ \sin\theta_1&\propto \sin\theta_2\, . \end{align} The ...
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Confusion over Snell's law [duplicate]

Does the angle of refraction always have $n_2$ as its refractive index? As far as I know, $$\frac{\sin\theta_i}{\sin\theta_r} = \frac{n_2}{n_1}.$$ So I got this question here: Calculate the ...
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How does apparent depth depend on viewing angle?

In derivations of apparent depth and articles on refraction the approximation that the viewing angle is small is made in order to derive that $$D_a = \frac{n_v}{n_o} D_o,$$ where $D_a$ is the ...
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Refraction of Sound Waves

When sound waves go from air to water what will happen to the wavelength and the angle of refraction? I used the approach that we apply to light waves and concluded the wavelength will decrease and ...
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Is refraction a type of transmission?

I had read a passage somewhere stating that there are three possibilities when light falls on an object. It absorbs some of it, reflects some of it and transmits some (pass through). However, I did ...
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Perfect reflection with metamaterials with indices of refraction less than one

Total internal reflection is used to send light signals long distances in fiber-optic cables. If the cable is shaped into a ring, the light will run in a circle until its intensity dwindles due to ...
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Is it possible to calculate the distance to a rainbow by using the parallax method?

A colleague of mine (a physicist) recently claimed that it is possible to calculate the distance to a rainbow by applying the parallax method and that the result would be ~150 million kilometers, the ...
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Double refraction in quarter wave plate and nicol prism

I have read in one of the textbook (local author) that when an unpolarized light is passed through nicol prism (parallel to the long sides of principle section),the light ray splits into two namely ...
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Huygens' principle

How do we know that the angle ADC is right angle here?
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Is there a medium less dense than vacuum, in which light can travel faster than $c$? [closed]

Is there a medium less dense than vacuum, in which light can travel faster than $c$? If not, can we make it?
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Is there refraction upon frustrated total internal reflection?

If the incidence angle of a light ray on an interface is greater than the critical angle, but theres a third medium with a higher refractive index than the second, lower refractive medium ~ few ...
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Why do convex lenses not disperse light like prisms, given that entry and exit points aren't parallel?

I understand that light entering a parallel block of glass at a non-90 degree angle will cause dispersion of colours within the block but that these will be refracted by the same degree upon exit so ...
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What's the equation for frustrated total internal reflection?

Could someone provide an equation for calculating frustrated internal reflection? Like for a partially reflective laser mirror or a beam splitter. I believe that it depends on the refractive indexes ...
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Huygen's Principle, Snell's law and velocity of light

Can you deduce Snell's law from Huygen's Principle without knowing in which medium the velocity is going to less? Of all the derivations I have seen of Snell's law using Huygen's Principle (light ...
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Why do rainbows always appear to be far away from us?

We know that the single rainbow we see is actually a continuous cone of rainbow. If so, why don't we see that cone instead of a single, far-away rainbow?
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Why don't images bend when looking through window glass like they do when looking through water?

From this section on wikipedia, the phenomenon of an image appearing warped or slightly displaced when looking through water is due to its index of refraction (1.33) deviating from that of air (~1). ...
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Refractive index of Noble Gases at high pressure

How/where can I find(estimate) the refractive index of noble gases like argon and krypton? How does the refractive index of argon and krypton depend on the pressure, specifically high pressures of up ...
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Different index of refraction for different prism

I would like to just know more why different prisms have different index of refraction? From the point of view of atomic physics or something? I do not seek for full proof and derivation (which is ...
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What will happen if the refractive index of lens is less than unity? [duplicate]

Generally the refractive index of any lens is greater than air. My question is what will happen if the refractive index of lens is less than unity?
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Gravitational refraction

I recently used another venue to ask about the speed of gravity, specifically if the speed of gravity is constant or if it is subject to refraction when passing through media, akin to light. The ...
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Does light loses its energy when it passes through denser medium?

I know it does not because it emerges out of denser medium at 300,000 KM per second, but according to $E=mc^2$ and given that speed of light decreases inside denser medium with refractive index ...