i am unable to understand what is refractive index ???please explain in detail

Asked by  | 20th Mar, 2012, 06:25: PM

Expert Answer:

The speed of light in vacuum is a fundamental constant of nature. It is 3 x 108 m/s. A transparent substance in which light can travel is called an optical medium. Different optical media have different optical densities and so speed of light is different in different optical media. A medium in which speed of light is more is said to be optically rarer medium. And a medium in which speed of light is less is said to be optically denser medium. 
The optically denser and rarer media have been redefined in terms of refractive index of the medium. It is defined as the ratio of speed of light in vacuum to the speed of light in the medium. A medium with higher value of refractive index is said to be optically denser compared to a medium with lower value of refractive index. Larger the refractive index of a medium, smaller is the speed of light in it.

Answered by  | 20th Mar, 2012, 08:05: PM

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