Refractive Index in Optics

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14 Questions

What does the refractive index measure?

The optical density of a medium

In the formula n = c/v, what does 'v' represent?

Speed of light in the medium

Why is the absolute refractive index always greater than one?

Because light travels slower in denser mediums

Why is refractive index considered unitless?

Because it is the ratio of similar quantities

Which type of refractive index compares two different media?

Relative refractive index

What does a higher refractive index indicate about a medium?

More optically dense medium

Match the following terms with their correct descriptions:

Refractive index = Measures the optical density of a medium Absolute refractive index = Always greater than one due to light traveling from rarer to denser medium Relative refractive index = Compares refractive indices of two different media Speed of light in vacuum = Denoted by 'c' in the refractive index formula n = c/v

Match the following statements with the correct explanations:

Higher refractive index indicates = A more optically denser medium with slower speed of light Lower refractive index indicates = A less optically denser medium with higher speed of light Unit of refractive index = Unitless due to being a ratio between similar quantities Difference between absolute and relative refractive index = One always greater than one, the other can be smaller or greater depending on optical densities

A lower refractive index indicates a more optically denser medium.

False

Absolute refractive index is always less than one.

False

Refractive index is a ratio of the speed of light in a specific medium to the speed of light in vacuum.

True

Relative refractive index can be equal to 1 if the two media have the same optical density.

True

Refractive index is unitless because it cancels out the units of the speed of light.

True

Both absolute and relative refractive indices will never be equal to 1.

True

Study Notes

  • Refractive index measures the optical density of a medium, indicating how much the speed of light slows down in that medium compared to vacuum.
  • The refractive index is a ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in a specific medium, denoted by n = c/v where c is the speed of light in vacuum and v is the speed in the medium.
  • A higher refractive index indicates a more optically denser medium, resulting in slower speed of light, while a lower refractive index indicates a less optically denser medium with higher speed of light.
  • Absolute refractive index is always greater than one because light travels from a rarer medium (vacuum) to a denser medium, causing it to slow down.
  • Refractive index is unitless because it is a ratio between similar quantities (speed of light), canceling out units.
  • Relative refractive index compares the refractive indices of two different media, with the first medium's speed of light over the second medium's speed of light.
  • The relative refractive index can be smaller or greater than 1, depending on the relationship between the two media's optical densities, but both absolute and relative refractive indices will not equal 1.

Learn about refractive index, which measures the optical density of a medium and how it affects the speed of light. Understand the concepts of absolute and relative refractive index, and how they compare different mediums.

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