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How is refractive index a function of frequency?

  1. Feb 3, 2012 #1
    I recently came across the representation of n(ω) for refractive indices.
    I also scouted the internet for explanations but could find none, except one on 'complex refractive index' but I don't think that's quite it.

    So how exactly is refractive index a function of frequency?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2012 #2
    Cauchy came up with an empirical equation with constants characteristic of the media used.I'm assuming that advances have been made since Cauchys time and if so a search starting with something like "Cauchy's dispersion formula" might lead you in the right direction.
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