Difference in index refraction

  1. What does a higher index of refraction really mean? I know about speed wavelength etc but lets say you have 2 different material to choose and ignoring other variables, and focal length, diameter are all the same between both material, would you choose a lower index refraction or higher.

  2. jcsd
  3. NoTime

    NoTime 1,568
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    One thing is that the curvature of the lens will be different.
    This may or may not be important to you.
    For multi element lenses I think they use different materials to correct for chromatic aberration in the final result.
    Other than that no idea.
  4. Depends on the application and what "material" we're talking about.
    Eg. With lenses, they are graded index (which corrects for aberration) which on average has a low refractive index. Lenses that do not automatically correct for chromatic aberration may have a lower or higher index.
  5. Redbelly98

    Redbelly98 12,046
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    A higher-index lens will require less curvature to give the same focal length as a lower-index lens. Spherical aberrations will be less severe owing to the reduced curvature.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?