why refractive index is taken with respect to air?

Asked by Rochika | 24th Mar, 2009, 11:35: AM

Expert Answer:

By definition refractive index (or index of refraction) of a medium is a measure for how much the speed of light (or other waves such as sound waves) is reduced inside the medium as compared to air(vaccum). For example, typical soda-lime glass has a refractive index of 1.5, which means that in glass, light travels at 1 / 1.5 = 0.67 times the speed of light in a vacuum.

The refractive index, n, of a medium is defined as the ratio of the phase velocity, c, of a wave phenomenon such as light or sound in a reference medium to the phase velocity, vp, in the medium itself:

 

Answered by  | 24th Mar, 2009, 11:43: AM

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