What is refractive index?

  • (noun): The ratio of the velocity of light in a vacuum to that in a medium.
    Synonyms: index of refraction

Refractive Index

In optics the refractive index (or index of refraction) n of a substance (optical medium) is a dimensionless number that describes how light, or any other radiation, propagates through that medium. Its most elementary occurrence (and historically the first one) is in Snell's law of refraction, n1sinθ1= n2sinθ2, where θ1 and θ2 are the angles of incidence of a ray crossing the interface between two media with refractive indices n1 and n2.

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Some articles on refractive index:

Soliton (optics) - Spatial Solitons
... If we leave the width L fixed in each point, but we change the value of the refractive index we will get exactly the same effect, but with a completely ... That's the way graded-index fibers work the change in the refractive index introduces a focusing effect that can balance the natural diffraction of ... the same principle the Kerr effect introduces a Self-phase modulation that changes the refractive index according to the intensity if has a shape similar to the one shown ...
Slot-waveguide
... optical waveguide that guides strongly confined light in a subwavelength-scale low refractive index region by total internal reflection ... consists of two strips or slabs of high-refractive-index (nH) materials separated by a subwavelength-scale low-refractive-index (nS) slot region and surrounded by low-refractive-index (nC) cladding materials ...
Mathematical Descriptions Of Opacity - Complex Refractive Index, Extinction Coefficient
... Recall that in nonattenuating media, the refractive index and wavenumber are related by A complex refractive index can therefore be defined in terms of the complex wavenumber defined above ... real part of is often (ambiguously) called simply the refractive index ...
Refractive Index - Applications
... The refractive index of a material is the most important property of any optical system that uses refraction ... Since refractive index is a fundamental physical property of a substance, it is often used to identify a particular substance, confirm its purity, or measure its concentration ... Refractive index is used to measure solids (glasses and gemstones), liquids, and gases ...
Kerr-induced Self-focusing
... and which produces a variation of the refractive index as described by the formula, where n0 and n2 are the linear and non-linear components of the refractive index, and I is the intensity of the ... Since n2 is positive in most materials, the refractive index becomes larger in the areas where the intensity is higher, usually at the centre of a beam, creating a focusing density profile which ...

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