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# ch26_print_1 - The Refraction of Light 1 The Refraction of...

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The Refraction of Light 1 – The Refraction of Light When a ray of light traveling through a transparent medium encounters a boundary leading into another transparent medium, part of the light is reflected and part enters the second medium. The ray that enters the second medium is bent at the boundary. It is said to be refracted . The angle of refraction, θ 2 , is related to the incident angle, θ 1 , as follows sin θ 2 sin θ 1 = v 2 v 1 (1) where v 1 is the speed of light in medium 1, and v 2 is the speed of light in medium 2 ( Snell’s law ). Dr.D.Wackeroth Spring 2005 PHY102A The Refraction of Light It is convenient to define the index of refraction of a medium: n = c v (2) where c is the speed of light in vacuum and v is the speed of light in the medium. n > 1 , since the speed of light in a medium is always less than that in vacuum (vacuum: n = 1 ). When light travels from one medium to another its frequency does not change , but the wavelength does ( λ = v/f ): λ 1 λ 2 = v 1 v 2 = c/n 1 c/n 2 = n 2 n 1

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