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Question

Can the absolute value of the refractive index be less than unity?


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Solution

Refractive index:

  1. The Refractive index is also referred to as the refraction index or index of refraction. The speed of light in a medium depends on the properties of the medium. In electromagnetic waves, the speed is dependent on the optical density of the medium.
  2. The refractive index is dimensionless. It is a number that indicates the number of times slower than a light wave would be in the material than it is in a vacuum. The refractive index, represented by the symbol n, is the velocity of light c in a vacuum divided by the velocity of light in a medium v.
  3. The formula of the refractive index is as follows:

n=cv

No, if the absolute refractive index is lower than unity. then

  1. The speed of light in that medium is faster than in a vacuum, which is impossible.
  2. The rate of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in that medium is the absolute refractive index of that medium.
  3. In a vacuum, the speed of light is always faster than in any other medium.
  4. The rate of light speed in a vacuum to light speed in any other medium is always larger than one.
  5. Any medium's absolute refractive index is always larger than 1.

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