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Value of the constant in 'variation of refractive index'

  1. Mar 17, 2013 #1
    In optics, given the below formula

    nλ= A + B/λ2 + C/λ4 +......

    where A, B and C are constants.

    From the above relationship we can deduce that as the wavelength λ increases, the variation of refractive index nλ decreases.

    How do we measure the constant value of A,B and C at the first place?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2013 #2


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    You measure the refractive index at several wavelengths and then you fit the formula to the values obtained.
  4. Mar 29, 2013 #3
    Thank You DrDu.
    While the above formula is for Optical Dispersion, then is it the same dispersion for the Abbe Number:


    where nF-nC is the dispersion according to this link http://glassproperties.com/abbe_number/

    but somehow on other link I read that nF-nC is called Principal Dispersion. I try to search on more about Principal Dispersion but there is almost none explanation about it.
  5. Mar 29, 2013 #4


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    n_F is the index of refraction for blue light while n_C is for red light (see the table with the line frequencies).
    One assumes that for glass the dispersion is approximately linear over the optical frequency range.
  6. Mar 29, 2013 #5
    I understand about the line frequencies. Just that is it n(lambda)=n_F - n_C ?
  7. Mar 29, 2013 #6


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    I would try something like ## n(\lambda)=n_C+(n_F-n_C)\frac{1/\lambda_C^2-1/\lambda^2}{1/\lambda_C^2-1/\lambda_F^2} ##.
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