The refractive index of diamond is 2.42. What is the meaning of this statement?

Answer:

A Refractive index is defined as the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to its speed in a specific medium.

Refractive index formula

The refractive index is a dimensionless quantity. It’s a number that shows how much slower a light wave will pass through material than it would in a vacuum. The refractive index (n) is the velocity of light in a vacuum divided by light in a medium. The refractive index formula is expressed as,

\(n = \frac{c}{\nu }\)

Where,

  • n is the refractive index
  • c is the velocity of light in a vacuum (3 × 108 m/s)
  • v is the velocity of light in a substance

What is the meaning of the refractive index of diamond is 2.42?

The refractive index of diamond is 2.42. This means that the speed of light in a diamond will reduce by a factor of 2.42 compared to its speed in air.
In other words, the speed of light in a diamond is 1/2.42 times the speed of light in a vacuum. Since the refractive index of diamond is quite high, it means that the diamond’s speed in diamond is deficient.

Further references

  1. Refractive Index, Absolute Refractive Index, and Relative Refractive Index – Definition
  2. The refractive index is

 

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