Photonics Dictionary

critical angle

The least angle of incidence at which total internal reflection takes place. The angle of incidence in a denser medium, at an interface between the denser and less dense medium, at which the light is refracted along the interface. When the critical angle is exceeded, the light is totally reflected back into the denser medium. The critical angle varies with the indices of refraction of the two media with the relationship:

where Ic is the critical angle; n´ the refractive index of the less dense medium; and n the refractive index of the denser medium.
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