Refraction angles?

1. May 18, 2006

Dunkaroos

Why is it that the refracted angle > the incident when light moves from a more dense material to a less dense?

Is there any way to explain why the angle would be greater?

I know the velocity would increase.
Wavelenght increases.
Frequency remains the same.
Correct?

2. May 18, 2006

Staff: Mentor

Are you familiar with Snell's law?

Correct.

3. May 18, 2006

Staff: Mentor

And as you look at the explanation of Snell's law, think about how the shape of the light wavefront changes as it hits the boundary at an angle. Make a sketch of the wavefront as it changes directions at the boundary, and be accurate in your representation of the change in wavelength near the boundary on both sides....

4. May 20, 2006

Dunkaroos

I understand it matematically but Snell's law but is there another way to explain it?

5. May 21, 2006

arunbg

Berkeman was simply referring to the derivetion of Snell's law , not the final eqn.
Using Huygens constructions for wavefronts, one can clearly see why the ray bends towards the normal ( since frequenc
y is conserved in both mediums).