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Light Refraction

Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its transmission medium. Refraction is a surface phenomenon. It is in agreement with the law of conservation of energy and momentum. Due to the change of medium, the phase velocity of the wave is changed but its frequency remains constant. This principle is commonly observed when a wave passes from one medium to another any angle besides 90o and 0o.

Refraction of light is the most commonly observed phenomenon but any type of wave can refract when it interacts with a medium. For example, when sound waves pass from one medium into another or when water waves move into water of a different depth.

Refraction is described by Snell’s law. This law states that for a given pair of media and a ave with a single frequency, the ration of the sines of the angle of incidence ϴ1 and angle of refraction ϴ2 is equivalent to the ratio of phase velocities in the two media or equivalent to the opposite ratio of the indices of refraction. The equation is as followed

sinϴ1/sinϴ2 = v1/v2 = n2/n1

The incident wave is partially refracted and partially reflected. This behavior can be described by the Fresnel equations.

Categories within Light Refraction


Postings: 8

A prism is a transparent optical element with a smooth surface that refracts light.


Postings: 57

A lens is a transparent optical device that transmits and refracts the light.

Determining the Path of Light

Determine the path light will travel in a region where the index of refraction is described by n(y) = 1+ae^(-by). Let the light start off at the origin (0,0) and go to the point (L,0). Determine the equation that must be solved to determine the constant in your path equation. (Call that constant k, then k is a function of a, b,

Refraction, Refractive Index, Resolution and Numerical Aperture

Define the following four terms associated with light microscopy: refraction, refractive index, resolution and numerical aperture. Does the resolution of a microscope depend on the wavelength of light used to observe the sample preparation? What wavelength of visible light would you want to use for the best resolution?

Law of Refraction, Rainbows, Raindrops

Greek letters alpha and beta are denoted by a and b respectively in the description below. Rainbows are formed when light strikes raindrops and is reflected and refracted as shown in the figure in the attached document. The figure shows a cross section of a spherical raindrop. The Law of Refraction states that (sin a) / (si

Refraction of light: Critical angle.

The critical angle for a piece of quartz is 37.3 degrees when the quartz is in air. If the piece of quartz is instead immersed in a transparent liquid with index of refraction n = 1.31, what is the angle of refraction in the liquid for a light ray incident at 21 degrees? -the answer is not: 16.4 degrees 51.48 degrees

Critical Angle and Refraction

The critical angle for a piece of quartz is 37.3 degrees when the quartz is in air. If the piece of quartz is instead immersed in a transparent liquid with index of refraction n = 1.31, what is the angle of refraction in the liquid for a light ray incident at 21 degrees?

Rays of Light: Incident on Glass Plate Example Problems

Two very narrow rays of light of different colors are incident on a glass plate at different angles. The difference in angle is exaggerated for the sake of clarity. It so happens that the two rays coalesce into one ray on entry into the glass as shown in the diagram. a) Which of the two rays has the higher index of refractio

Focal length and power of lens, Index of refraction of block material

3. A photographer wishes to take a picture of his pet chicken Fred, who happens to have a fine-face 5.0 cm high. While standing 2.0 m away, he selects a lens that will fill the film (24 mm top-to-bottom) with Fred's face. What is the focal length and power of the lens that should be used? 4. Using a block of transparent, unkn

Refraction, Radius of curvature

1 A light ray from air is incident on Fabulite. The speed of light in the Fabulite is 1.245x10^8 m/s. At what angle would the incident ray have struck the surface if it was found to have a refracted angle of 12 degrees in the Fabulite? 2. A makeup mirror is designed so that a person 25 cm in front of it sees an erect image ma

Refraction of light: Apparent depth of a pool

A coin is lying at the bottom of a pool of water that is 4.90 ft deep. Viewed from directly above the coin, how far below the surface of the water does the coin appear to be? (The coin is assumed to be small in diameter. Therefore, we can use the small angle approximations sinθ = tanθ = θ.) Please solve and ex

Calculate time for light to travel vertically

A pond with a total depth (ice + water) of 4.01 m is covered by a transparent layer of ice, with a thickness of 0.134 m. Calculate the time required for light to travel vertically from the surface of the ice to the bottom of the pond.

Refraction of light: Minimum length of Mirror required

You stand 1.66 m in front of a wall and gaze downward at a small vertical mirror mounted on it. In this mirror you can see the reflection of your shoes. If your eyes are 1.74 m above your feet, through what angle should the mirror be tilted for you to see your eyes reflected in the mirror? (The location of the mirror remains the

Calculate the minimum index of refraction

A beam of light is emitted 8.06 cm beneath the surface of a liquid and strikes the surface 7.25 cm from the point directly above the source. If total internal reflection occurs, calculate the minimum index of refraction of the liquid?

Refraction of Light: Snell's Law

A flashlight on the bottom of a 3.73 m deep swimming pool sends a ray upward at an angle so that the ray strikes the surface of the water 1.82 m from the point directly above the flashlight. What angle (in air) does the emerging ray make with the water's surface?

Physics: lunar eclipse

During a lunar eclipse, the Moon is not completely dark, but it is often a deep red in color. Explain this in terms of refraction of all the sunsets and sunrises around the world.

Find the diameter of the second bright ring in the interference pattern.

The radius of curvature of the convex surface of a planoconvex lens is 95.2cm. The lens is placed convex side down on a perfectly flat glass plate that is illuminated from above with red light having a wavelength of 580 nm. Find the diameter of the second bright ring in the interference pattern

Measuring Distance With a Laser

An aircraft based LIDAR platform is performing bathymetric (water depth) measurements. The 1.06 µ wavelength LIDAR beam is pulse modulated, at a rate of 1000 Hz, the pulse width is 25 nanoseconds and the look angle is 5.0 degrees from the aircraft. The aircraft is flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Calculate the depth of

Physics - Index of Refraction, Image

#1-A prism with angles 45°, 45° and 90° is to be used to turn a beam of light through a 90° angle. What is the minimum index of refraction for the material of the prism that will give the total internal reflection needed? #2- A tarantula of height 2.0cm is sitting in front of a spherical mirror with focal length │F&

Reflection and refraction are examined.

Please help with the following problem. A multiple ray projector, with the rays parallel, strikes the prism from various angles and sides. How would you obtain total internal reflection? If you set it up so the incoming rays are turned through an 180 degree angle, what would the ray diagram look like (draw diagram)? Is it

Determining Index of Refraction of a Light: Example Problem

A beam of light with red and blue components of wavelengths 670 nm and 425 nm, respectively, strikes a slab of fused quartz at an incident angle of 30o. On refraction, the different components are separated by an angle of 1.31 X 10-3 rad. If the index of refraction of the red light is 1.4925, what is the index of refraction of t

Refraction of Light: Critical Angle

Imagine a fish in the lake. And assume that the surface of the water is absolutely flat - no waves at all. Draw a picture and describe what the fish should see. Can the fish see someone standing on the shore of the lake?

Refractive index of a liquid vary with temperature

How does the refractive index of a liquid vary with temperature? What corrective factor is often used to determine the value at a specific temperature? For example, 20 degrees C. If the measurement were made at 25 degrees C?

Special Senses

Regarding the eye and vision describe how it is that you can see your computer screen to read this post.

Behavioral Science: Neural Systems

Explain the communication process of neurons in the brain. List some common neurotransmitters and describe their effect on behavior. Identify the major regions of the brain and what functions of behavior the systems of each region control. Consider the following chain of events. Describe the sensory process that takes pl

A problem on prism.

The Triangular prism shown in Figure 1 (see attachment) has index of refraction 1.5 and angles 37, 53, and 90 degrees. The shortest side of the prism is set on a horizontal table. A beam of light, initially horizontal, is incident on the prism from the left. a.) On Figure 1, sketch the path of the beam as it passes throu