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Light refraction

  1. Feb 1, 2016 #1
    What cause the refraction of light? I read somewhere the change of speed but the angle is also important. But why the light refract to the thicker part of an optical lens?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2016 #2


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    Before you treat this question quantum-theoretically, which involves the propagation of photons in matter, i.e., you have to calculate the photon-polarization tensor in finite-temperature quantum field theory, you should look at the classical theory, how the dielectric function (more generally tensor) is evaluated within simple classical models of matter. The final outcome is amazingly close to the quantum treatment.
  4. Feb 1, 2016 #3
    With the Huygens–Fresnel principle refraction can be explained with the change of the speed of light only.
  5. Feb 1, 2016 #4


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    My guess is you don't really want a quantum field theory answer ?

    More an optics of hyperphysics kind of answer ?
  6. Feb 2, 2016 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2016
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