Prism dispersion

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Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

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  • #2
Meir Achuz
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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.
 
  • #3
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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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kramers–Kronig_relation
Absorption is not required for reflection of different wavelengths (colors) from thin films at different angles.
Bob S
 

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