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index of refraction

noun

, Optics.
  1. a number indicating the speed of light in a given medium as either the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to that in the given medium absolute index of refraction or the ratio of the speed of light in a specified medium to that in the given medium relative index of refraction. : n


index of refraction

noun

  1. another name for refractive index


index of refraction

  1. A measure of the extent to which a substance slows down light waves passing through it. The index of refraction of a substance is equal to the ratio of the velocity of light in a vacuum to its speed in that substance. Its value determines the extent to which light is refracted when entering or leaving the substance.


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Word History and Origins

Origin of index of refraction1

First recorded in 1820–30
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Example Sentences

He'd gotten an index-of-refraction reading on crystals too small to be seen except through a microscope.

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