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Prism dispersion

  1. Jan 4, 2010 #1
    Does dispersion of light by a prism have anything to do with how thin films disperse light of different colors at different angles? Could a person imagine the sides as if they were thin films?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2010 #2


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    Dispersion due to refraction by a prism and dispersion by interference between thin films are completely different, and have almost nothing to do with each other.
    They are each wave phenomena, but with different mechanisms.
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    One very significant difference is that for dispersion to occur in a prism, the index of refraction has to be wavelength dependent. Because of dispersion relations (Kramers-Kronig relations), there has to also be absorption in the prism. See
    Absorption is not required for reflection of different wavelengths (colors) from thin films at different angles.
    Bob S
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