# The complex index of refraction of air

• makemasu
In summary, the complex index of refraction of air is a measure of how light is bent when passing through air, taking into account both the real and imaginary indices of refraction. It is typically measured using a spectrophotometer and is important in various fields such as optics and remote sensing. It can vary with different atmospheric conditions and differs from the real index of refraction by also considering absorption.
makemasu
Most textbooks list the real part of the index of refraction. How would I go about calculating the imaginary part of the index of refraction of air?

The imaginary part is only non-zero very near to the absorption frequencies of the molecules. These absorptions occur in the infrared and ultraviolet, so you don't have to care about them in the visible. In the other ranges, the absorption coefficients are tabulated, so that you can calculate the imaginary part of the index of refraction if you like.

## 1. What is the complex index of refraction of air?

The complex index of refraction of air is a measure of how much a ray of light is bent when it passes through air. It takes into account both the real (refractive) index and the imaginary (absorptive) index of air.

## 2. How is the complex index of refraction of air measured?

The complex index of refraction of air is typically measured using a spectrophotometer, which measures the amount of light absorbed or refracted by a sample of air. The real and imaginary indices of refraction are then calculated using the measured data.

## 3. Why is the complex index of refraction of air important?

The complex index of refraction of air is important in a variety of fields, including optics, atmospheric science, and remote sensing. It is used to correct for distortion and refraction of light in optical devices, and to calculate the amount of atmospheric absorption in remote sensing applications.

## 4. Does the complex index of refraction of air change with different atmospheric conditions?

Yes, the complex index of refraction of air can vary with different atmospheric conditions such as temperature, pressure, and humidity. This is because these factors can affect the density and composition of air, which in turn can alter its refractive and absorptive properties.

## 5. How does the complex index of refraction of air differ from the real index of refraction?

The real index of refraction only takes into account the refractive properties of a substance, while the complex index of refraction also considers its absorptive properties. This means that the complex index of refraction provides a more comprehensive measure of how a substance affects the propagation of light.

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