# Waves/Light

Waves : 1 Dimensional Waves
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Examples - Problems - Solutions - Terminology

#### LightEdit

Light moves in a vacuum at a speed of $c_{vac} = 3 \times 10^8 \mbox{ m} \mbox{ s}^{-1}$. In transparent materials it moves at a speed less than $c_{vac}$ by a factor $n$ which is called the refractive index of the material:

$c = c_{vac} / n .$

Often the refractive index takes the form

$n^2 \approx 1 + \frac{A}{1 - (k/k_R )^2} ,$

where $k$ is the wavenumber and $k_R$ and $A$ are constants characteristic of the material. The angular frequency of light in a transparent medium is thus

$\omega = kc = \frac{k c_{vac}}{n} \approx \frac{k c_{vac}}{\sqrt{1+A}}(1+ \frac{1}{2}\frac{A}{1+A}\frac{k^2}{k^2_R})$

so the frequency increases slightly with increasing k. Typically, when k is near kR, the material becomes opaque.

Ultimately, this is due to resonance between the light and the atoms of the materials.

Waves : 1 Dimensional Waves
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Examples - Problems - Solutions - Terminology

Last modified on 7 August 2006, at 17:58