# Angular spread of light rays passing through a prism

• Quenton Robertson
In summary, the conversation discusses finding the angular spread of visible light passing through a prism with an apex angle of 60 degrees. The index of refraction for violet and red light in silica flint glass is given, and the equation for calculating the angular spread is provided. However, the calculated result of 0.7388 radians seems too large, so the question of where the 60 degree angle is used is raised. It is suggested to draw a diagram to better understand the angles involved.
Quenton Robertson

## Homework Statement

The index of refraction for violet light in silica flint glass is 1.66, and the index of refraction for red light is 1.62. What is the angular spread of visible light passing through a prism of apex angle 60 degrees if the angle of incidence is 50.03 degrees?

n1=1.62
n2=1.66
n =1
theta1=50.03

## The Attempt at a Solution

I plugged in my numbers into the equation above and got:

and got: 0.7388

but that was wrong...so where did I go wrong?

0.7388 radians seems a bit much... Maybe you mean degrees ? Is that for the entrance into the glass only ?

BvU said:
0.7388 radians seems a bit much... Maybe you mean degrees ? Is that for the entrance into the glass only ?
yeah sorry, i meant degrees :P the question wants the answers in degrees too
is the 60 degree number important? if so where do i use it?

You might use it on the other side of the prism to calculate the angle of incidence there...

Thing to do: make a drawing indicating the various angles...

Could you show me what you mean by that?

BvU said:
Is that for the entrance into the glass only ?
@Quenton Robertson - this is, I think, the key point.

Maybe QR missed my second line in #4 (I first posted a one-liner )

## 1. What is the angular spread of light rays passing through a prism?

The angular spread of light rays passing through a prism refers to the range of angles at which the light is refracted as it passes through the prism. This is determined by the shape and material of the prism, as well as the wavelength of the light.

## 2. How does the angular spread of light rays affect the appearance of objects viewed through a prism?

The angular spread of light rays can cause the objects viewed through a prism to appear distorted or displaced, as the light is bent at different angles. This can create a rainbow effect or produce multiple images of the object.

## 3. Can the angular spread of light rays be controlled or adjusted?

Yes, the angular spread of light rays passing through a prism can be controlled by changing the angle at which the light enters the prism or by adjusting the shape or material of the prism.

## 4. How does the angular spread of light rays differ for different colors of light?

The angular spread of light rays can vary for different colors of light because each color has a different wavelength, which affects how much the light is refracted as it passes through the prism. This is why prisms are often used to separate white light into its component colors.

## 5. Why is the angular spread of light rays important in scientific experiments and applications?

The angular spread of light rays is important in scientific experiments and applications because it allows us to control and manipulate the behavior of light. By understanding how light is refracted through prisms, we can design and use various optical devices for a wide range of purposes, such as in telescopes, microscopes, and spectrometers.

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