In optics, a property of mediums through which light passes, the ratio of the velocity of light in a vacuum (c) to its velocity in the medium. It varies with the wavelength of the light. The symbol is n.
The index of refraction can also be expressed in terms of the permeability and dielectric constant of the medium:
where μ0 and ε0 represent the permeability and dielectric constant, respectively, of the vacuum.
|Material||Index of refraction
at 546.1 nanometers
|dry air at 15°C, 1 atm pressure||1.000 277 82|
|carbon dioxide, STP||1.000 410|
|water at 30°C (589 nm)||1.332 30|
|fused silica||1.460 08|
|crown glass||1.513 14|
|borosilicate crown glass||1.518 72|
|crown flint glass||1.519 78|
|phosphate crown glass||1.527 36|
|polystyrene at 20°C (589 nm)||1.591|
|flint glass||1.607 18|
|dense crown glass||1.609 94|
Schott Optical Glass.
Schott Glass Technologies, Inc.
Metrologia, vol. 2, page 71 (1966).
P. Schiebnener, J. Straub, J. M. H. Levelt Sangers and J. S.
J. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data, vol 19, pages 677 and 1617 (1990).
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Last revised: 25 March 2009.