Snell's Law - Maple Help

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Snell's Law

Main Concept

Snell's Law, also known as the Law of Refraction, is a formula describing the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction when light (or other electromagnetic radiation) passes between two media:

 

sinθ1sinθ2=v1v2=n2n1=λ1λ2

θk is the angle measured from the normal (the line perpendicular to the surface)

vk is the velocity of light in each medium (m/s)

nk is the refractive index in each medium (no unit)

λk is the wavelength of the light in each medium (m)

Total Internal Reflection

Snell's Law is valid only as long as sin&theta;1 is no greater than n2n1. When n2< n1, i.e. light travels from a medium of a higher index of refraction to one with a lower refractive index, the angle &theta;c defined by

&theta;c &equals; sin1n2n1

is called the critical angle. This angle is the largest possible incident angle which will create a refracted ray. As the incident angle &theta;1 increases towards &theta;c, the proportion of the light refracted through the surface decreases and the proportion reflected increases. When &theta;1&theta;c, all light is reflected, a situation known as Total Internal Reflection.

 

Click on the graph or slide the slider to change the angle of incidence.

n1 =

n2=

Angle of incidence  =  degrees
 

A list of refractive indices

Material        

Index of refraction

Vacuum                        

1

Air

1.003

Water

1.33

Whale Oil

1.46

Crown Glass

1.52

Heavy Flint Glass

1.65

Diamond

2.42

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