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Difference in index refraction

  1. Apr 9, 2008 #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. Apr 9, 2008 #2


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    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. Apr 12, 2008 #3
    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. Apr 14, 2008 #4


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    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.
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