Using a double angle formula with Snell's Law

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  • #1
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Homework Statement


A light ray is incident from air onto a glass surface with an index of refraction n = 1.56. Find the angle of incidence for which the corresponding angle of refraction is one-half the angle of incidence. Both angles are defined with the normal to the surface.


Homework Equations


n = sin a1/sin a2 (Snell's Law)

sin(a + b) = (sin a x cos b) + (cos a x sinb)

sin(2a) = 2 sin a cos a

The Attempt at a Solution



Somehow you plug in the double angle formula into snells law. but I don't understand how this is a down. a breakdown of the equations used to solve problem would be extremely helpful :)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
ehild
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The angle of incidence is 2a, the angle of refraction is a. Plug in to Snell's law.

ehild
 
  • #3
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but then how do you solve for a?
 
  • #4
ehild
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Show your equation.

ehild
 
  • #5
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sin(a)/sin(2a) = 1.56
 
  • #6
gneill
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sin(a)/sin(2a) = 1.56
What happens if you apply the sine double angle formula here?
 
  • #7
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Your equation is actually incorrect. by Snell's formula,
sin a = 1.56Apply the duble angle formula to sin (2a) to get 2sin(a)cos(a). since a does not equal an integral multiple of pi, you can divide out sin(a). From there, you can find that cos(a) = 0.321
Use the inverse of cosine function to solve for a = 71.306 degrees.
 
Last edited:
  • #8
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if sin a = 1.56, how do you apply the double angle formula?
 
  • #9
gneill
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Your equation is actually incorrect. by Snell's formula,
sin a = 1.56Apply the duble angle formula to sin (2a) to get 2sin(a)cos(a). since a does not equal an integral multiple of pi, you can divide out sin(a). From there, you can find that cos(a) = 0.321
Use the inverse of cosine function to solve for a = 71.306 degrees.
Snell's Law:
[tex] \frac{sin(\theta 1)}{sin(\theta 2)} = \frac{v1}{v2} = \frac{n2}{n1} [/tex]
 
  • #10
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im so confused.. could someone just show the steps on how to solve it? i think much better in equations than words.
 
  • #11
gneill
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Take Snell's law as I wrote it above (You can ignore the velocity ratio, I only included it for completeness. It's not needed for this problem). Substitute the given values for the angles and indexes of refraction. What do you get?
 
  • #12
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isnt that what i wrote before? sin a/sin 2a = 1.56/1.
 
  • #13
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sorry, i see. sin2a/sina = 1.56/1
 
  • #14
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ah ha! so sin 2a = 2sinacosa and the sins cancel out, giving you a final equation of cos a = 0.78. thanks very much everyone!
 

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