crashMATHS
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Hi,

I have a (probably very simple) question about the formula  n = \frac{sin i}{sin r} . I was wondering, by using this formula, do we work out the refractive index of the material that the light enters or the refractive index of the material light comes from? So if it's glass-water, would the formula work out the refractive index of glass or the refractive index of water?

Thanks


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Stonebridge
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(Original post by kingaaran)
Hi,

I have a (probably very simple) question about the formula  n = \frac{sin i}{sin r} . I was wondering, by using this formula, do we work out the refractive index of the material that the light enters or the refractive index of the material light comes from? So if it's glass-water, would the formula work out the refractive index of glass or the refractive index of water?

Thanks


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That version of the formula is usually applied to light going from a vacuum (or air) into a medium of refractive index n.
It only works when one of the media is air or vacuum and has a refractive index = 1

The full formula is

n_1 sin \theta_1 = n_2 sin \theta_2

if n1 is air or vacuum with value n1 = 1 then the formula becomes the same as the one you have mentioned with n2 being the refractive index of the other material.
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crashMATHS
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(Original post by Stonebridge)
That version of the formula is usually applied to light going from a vacuum (or air) into a medium of refractive index n.
It only works when one of the media is air or vacuum and has a refractive index = 1

The full formula is

n_1 sin \theta_1 = n_2 sin \theta_2

if n1 is air or vacuum with value n1 = 1 then the formula becomes the same as the one you have mentioned with n2 being the refractive index of the other material.
As I wrote this post, I thought that would be the answer. Thank you very much


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