refractive index


Definition of refractive index

: the ratio of the speed of radiation (such as light) in one medium (such as air, glass, or a vacuum) to that in another medium

Examples of refractive index in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The acrylic’s refractive index is similar to water, so the tops give the illusion of disappearing once submerged. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 2 Dec. 2021 Aluminum oxide scatters more light than glass, with a refractive index of about 1.76 compared with just 1.52 for glass and about 1.37 for plain aluminum. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 17 June 2021 These are materials made from arrays of electrically conducting components that interact with light so as to create exotic optical effects such as negative refractive index. Philip Ball, Scientific American, 11 June 2013 For these wavelengths, most materials have a refractive index that is just very slightly less than one. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 21 Dec. 2018 Or the refractive indices may have impossible values. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 6 Dec. 2018 An electro-optic modulator takes in a microwave signal, which changes the refractive index of a bit of glass. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 8 Feb. 2018 Blue light has to work harder to shift the electrons (the refractive index is larger). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 27 June 2018 The electrons respond as if the light were redder (the refractive index decreases). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 27 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refractive index.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of refractive index

1839, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of refractive index was in 1839

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refractive index

refractive power

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Cite this Entry

“Refractive index.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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refractive index


Medical Definition of refractive index

More from Merriam-Webster on refractive index Encyclopedia article about refractive index


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