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Index of Refraction lab

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Ankit Shahi                Jan 06 2009

Index of Refraction

The aim of the experiment is to find the index of refraction, n , of the plexiglass. This would be done by passing a ray of light at the plexiglass, at a certain angle, and then recording the angle at which it refracts back into the air. The angle incident to the plexiglass and the refracted angle would be measured by the graph paper that would be placed beneath the plexiglass.

When light enters a more optically dense medium, the ray bends toward the normal to the surface inside the medium. This is true for all angles greater than zero. However when the light enters a less optically dense medium, the refracted ray bends away from normal.

To find the index of refraction of plexiglass, n, the graph of the

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Calculating the sin of the incident angle and the refracted angle:

sin(10°) = 0.1736481777 = 0.17

Sin (173°) = 0.1218693434 = .12

The error of the sin of the angles is exempt

Table #2: Sin value of the incident angle and the refracted angle

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There were some weaknesses found in the lab. One weakness found was that that it was hard to keep the plexiglass at the same place. This could be solved by putting the plexiglass at a fix distance so that it won’t move. Another weakness was that the plexiglass had too many scratches and it was also dirty. This could have affected the results. This could be solved by either cleaning the lens with the lens cleaner or get a new glass.

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