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Photonics Dictionary

Snell's law of refraction

The incident ray, the normal to the refracting surface at the point of incidence of the ray at the surface, and the refracted ray all lie in a single plane. The ratio of the sine of the angle between the normal and the incident ray to the sine of the angle between the normal and refracted ray is a constant. If the indices of refraction on either side of a refracting surface are N and N', and the angles that a ray makes with the surface normal are i and r, then Snell's law states that N sin i = N' sin r.
 
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Snell's law of refraction

Presented by Dr. Will Williams, Smith College


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