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Refraction of Light

1. Definitions:
a. Refraction
A surface phenomenon where the change in the direction of the path of light, when it passes from one
transparent medium to another transparent medium is called refraction.
b. Refractive Index
The refractive index of second medium with respect to the first medium is defined as the ratio of the sine of
the angle of incidence in the first medium to the sine of angle of refraction in the second medium
c. Critical Angle
The angle is the angle of incidence in the denser medium corresponding to which the angle of refraction in the
rarer medium in 90⁰
d. Total Internal Reflection
A phenomenon when a ray of light travelling in a denser medium, is incident at the surface of a rarer medium
at the angle of incidence greater than the critical angle for the pair of media, the ray is totally reflected back
into the denser medium.
e. Centre of Curvature of a Lens
The centre of sphere whose part is the lens surface is called the centre of curvature of that surface of the lens.
f. Radius of Curvature
The radius of sphere whose part is the lens surface, is called the radius of curvature of the lens.
g. Principal Axis
It is the line joining the centres of curvature of the two surfaces of the lens
h. Optical Centre
It is a point on the principal axis of the lens such that a ray of light directed towards it, passes undeviated
through it
i. Principal Focus
Convex Lens: A beam of light parallel to the principal axis after refraction converges at a point on the principal
axis is known as principal focus
Concave lens: A beam of light parallel to principal axis after refraction appears to diverge at a point on the
principal axis
j. Focal Length
The distance between optical centre and focal point is known as focal length
k. Focal Plane
A plane passing through the focal point and normal to the principal axis of the lens
l. Lateral Displacement
Perpendicular distance between the path of emergent ray and direction of incident ray is called the lateral
displacement
m. Linear Magnification
The ratio of length of image I perpendicular to principal axis to the length of the Object O is called the Liner
magnification. m = Length of Image (I) / Length of Object (O) = v / u
n. Power of Lens
The deviation of the incident light rays produced by a lens on refraction through it, is called the measure of its
power.
D = 1 / Focal Length and its unit is dioptre (D)
A lens is of power 1 dioptre (or 1 D) if its focal length is 1 m (100 cm)
2. Laws and Principles
i. Snell’s Law
The incident ray, the refracted ray and the normal at the point of incidence, all lie in the same plane.
The ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence ‘i’ to the sine of the angle of refraction ‘r’ is constant for the
pair of given media. The constant is called the refractive index of the second medium with respect to the
first medium. It is generally represented by Greek letter 1µ2 (Mew). Mathematically it is denoted as sin I /
sin r = constant 1µ2

ii. Principle of Reversibility of Light


According to the Principle of reversibility of light, if a ray of light travels from medium ‘a’ to medium ‘b’
along a certain path, it will follow exactly the same path while travelling from medium ‘b’ to medium ‘a’.
In other words the path of light is reversible
3. Differences
i. Refraction and Reflection

# Refraction # Reflection
1 Change in the direction of light when it is traveling 1 When beam of light falls on a Mirror (or a smooth
from one transparent medium to the another and shiny surface), a part of it is sent back into the
same medium from which it is causing
2 Lenses are based on the refraction 2 Mirrors are based on reflection
3 It passes through two medium 3 The light ray is reflected back into the same
medium

ii. Total Internal Reflection and Reflection

# Total Internal Reflection # Reflection from Plain Mirror


1 It takes place only when light passes from a denser 1 It takes place when light is incident on a plane
medium to a rarer medium at an angle on mirror from any medium at any angle of incidence
incidence greater than the Critical angle for that
pair of media
2 The entire light is reflected 2 Only part of light is reflected while the rest is
refracted and absorbed
3 There is no loss of energy. The energy of reflected 3 There is a loss of energy. The energy of the
ray is same as that of incident ray reflected ray is always less than that of incident ray
4 The image is much brighter and the brightness 4 The image is less bright and the brightness
remains unchanged even after the long use of the gradually decreases as the silvering on mirror
total reflecting device becomes old and ruff

iii. Real and Virtual Image

# Real Image # Virtual Image


1 A real image is formed due to actual intersection 1 A virtual image is formed when the rays refracted
of the rays refracted by the lens by the lens appear to meet if they are produced
backwards
2 A real image can be obtained on screen 2 A virtual image cannot be obtained on a screen
3 A real image is inverted with respect to the object 3 A virtual image is erect with respect to the object
4 E.g. The image of a distant object formed by a 4 E.g. The image of an object formed by a concave
convex lens lens

iv. Convex and concave lens

# Convex Lens # Concave Lens


1 It is thick in the middle and thin at the periphery 1 It is thin in the middle and thick at the periphery
2 It converges the incident rays towards the 2 It diverges the incident rays away from the
principle axis principal axis
3 It has real focus 3 It has virtual focus
4. Factors affecting
i. Refracting Index
i. Nature of the medium i.e. Optical Density –
(Lower the speed of light -> Higher the µ -> Higher the deviation)
ii. Physical condition such as Temperature –
(Higher the temperature -> Higher the speed -> Lower µ -> Lower deviation)
iii. Colour or Wave length
Speed of Light for Red Colour is the maximum -> Lowest µ -> Lowest deviation
Speed of Light for Violet Colour is the minimum -> Highest µ -> Highest deviation

ii. Angle if Deviation δ (δ = i + e – A)


i. Angle of incidence –

ii. Material of the prism (or refractive index µ and for small angle of Prism δ = (µ - 1) x A) –
(Higher the Refractive index -> Higher the deviation δ)
iii. Angle of Prism [For small angle of Prism δ = (µ - 1) x A]
(Higher the Angle of Prism -> Higher the deviation δ)
iv. Colour or Wave length
Speed of Light for Red Colour is the maximum -> Lowest µ -> Lowest deviation
Speed of Light for Violet Colour is the minimum -> Highest µ -> Highest deviation
iii. Lateral Displacement
i. Thickness of Medium
(Higher the thickness -> higher the Lateral displacement)
ii. Angle of incidence
(Higher Angle of incidence -> higher the Lateral displacement)
iii. Refractive index
(Higher the refractive index µ -> higher the Lateral displacement)
iv. Shift (Shift = Real Depth x (1 – 1 / aµm)
i. Refractive index of the medium
(Higher the Refractive Index µ -> More the shift)
ii. Thickness of denser medium
(Higher the thickness -> More the shift)
iii. Colour or Wave length
(Higher the wavelength -> Lesser the shift)
v. Critical Angle (aµg = 1 / sin C, ∴ sin C = 1 / aµg )
i. Colour of light
Higher the wavelength -> Lower the µ -> Higher the Critical Angle)
ii. Temperature
Higher the temperature -> Lower the µ -> Higher the Critical Angle)
5. Graphs
i. Relation between deviation and angle of Incident

i1 + i2 = A + δ
δmin = 2i – A where i = i1 = i2
6. Ray Diagrams
i. Multiple reflections in a thick mirror
ii. Bending of Stick
iii. Tank of water viewed normally from above

iv. Prismatic Periscope


v. Prismatic Binoculars
vi. Slide projectors
vii. Terrestrial Telescope

viii. Galilean Telescope


ix. Correct Myopia
x. Correct Hypermetropia
xi. Oblique rays for a convex lens
7. Give Reasons
i. Mirage in deserts or Tar roads in hot summer days seems to be wet and shiny

1. In deserts as the sand gets heated the lower layer of the air becomes very hot and the upper layers
are comparatively cooler
2. Light coming from any object like tree passes through the layers of air of gradually decreasing densities
3. At each layer of varied densities refraction takes place and the light ray bends away from the normal
4. The angle of incidence continues to increase until at a certain layer it becomes more than the critical
angle between two layers and thus total internal reflection takes place and the light ray reflects
upward from the rarer to the denser layer of air
5. The whole path of the ray is therefore concave
6. Due to this the observer will see an inverted image of the object and thinks that a pool of water from
the formation of the image

ii. Upper surface of water contained in a beaker appears silvery when held above the eye level
1. Critical angle of water is 48⁰.
2. The rays of light entering in water from below suffer refraction
3. If these rays strike the water air surface at an angle greater than 48⁰ then they suffer Total internal
reflection
4. The rays on emerging out of water appear to come from upper surface of water ‘xy’ which in turn
appears silvery
iii. Empty test tube held obliquely in water and viewed from top appears silvery
1. Critical angle of glass is 42⁰
2. When rays of light while travelling through water strike the glass-air interface of test tube at an angle
more than 42⁰ they suffer a total internal reflection.
3. When these reflected rays reach the eye, then to the eye they appear to come from surface of the
test tube itself.
4. Thus the test tube appear silvery

Similarly a crack in a glass window pane appears silvery due to the presence of air in the crack

Bubble of air rising up in a fish tank appears silvery if the rays of light strike them at an angle greater
than 48⁰, critical angle of water

iv. Sparkling of Diamond


1. Critical angle of diamond is only 24⁰ 30’ or ≈ 25⁰.
2. Diamonds are cut at very sharp angles making number of refractive surfaces
3. When a ray of light enters diamond from any surface at an angle greater than 25⁰ it suffers series of
total internal reflection due to diamonds small critical angle and multiple cut surfaces.
4. The ray literally gets trapped within diamond for some time and emerges into air only when the angle
of incident on a surface is less than the critical angle
5. This is the cause of the sparkle

v. Cut glass articles sparkle


1. Critical angle of glass is 42⁰.
2. A cut glass article has number of refractive surfaces
3. When a ray of light enters the cut glass article from any surface at an angle greater than 42⁰ it suffers
series of total internal reflection due multiple cut surfaces.
4. The ray literally gets trapped within diamond for some time and emerges into air only when the angle
of incident on a surface is less than the critical angle
5. This is the cause of the sparkle
vi. Optical Fibre
1. Optical Fibre is a device based on Total internal reflection by which the light signals can be transferred
from one place to the other with negligible loss of energy.
2. Fibre is made of up quartz glass of refractive index 1.7 which is coated with a material od refractive
index 1.5
3. The ray incident at an angle more than the critical angle suffers total internal reflection
4. Used in long distance communication of light signals
5.
vii. Surface of water contained in a beaker appears silvery when held above the eye level
viii. The bottom of a beaker filled with water appears raised
Or
Stamp placed under glass appear raised
Or
Swimming pool appears shallow when willed with water

1. Raise of light diverging from coin on emerging out of water suffer refraction and hence bend away
from the normal
2. When the refracted rays meet the eye then to the eye they appear to come from a point I, which is
higher than O. Thus the coin and hence the bottom of the beaker appear raised when filled with water.

ix. Apparent position of stars


1. Atmosphere consists of number of parallel layers of air of varying densities such that the most dense
layer is near the surface of the earth and least dense layer is the top most layer
2. The layers of air are not stationary but continuously intermingle thereby rapidly changing the density
of one or more layers of air
3. When the rays of light coming from a star pass through the atmosphere of varying densities they bend
towards normal.
4. Finally when the refracted rays of light reach the eye, the eye traces a straight path.
5. Thus to the eye rays appear to come from a different point which is high up in the horizon.
6. This is the apparent position of the star

x. Twinkling of stars
1. Atmosphere consists of number of parallel layers of air of varying densities such that the most dense
layer is near the surface of the earth and least dense layer is the top most layer
2. The layers of air are not stationary but continuously intermingle thereby rapidly changing the density
of one or more layers of air
3. When the rays of light coming from a star pass through the atmosphere of varying densities they bend
towards normal due to refraction
4. This changes the apparent position of the stars
5. Thus when a star is within the line of sight, it is visible. However when it is out of the line of sight it is
no longer visible.
6. The collective effect of the above changes shifts the apparent position of the star and it appears to
twinkle
xi. Why Planets do not twinkle
1. Planets are very close to earth as compared to stars
2. Their apparent position also changes with the change of density of different layers of atmosphere
3. However the size of their apparent image is still fairly large such that it hardly falls outside the line of
sight
4. Hence they do not appear to twinkle
xii. Sun appears bigger during Sun-set of Sun-rise
1. Apparent position of stars is higher than its actual position in the horizon
2. Due to refraction the apparent image of Sun is closer to eye than its actual position
3. Since during Sun-set and Sun-rise the rays of light travel through maximum length of atmosphere
therefore refraction is also maximum
4. Hence apparent image of Sun is very much closer to eye
5. Thus it appears bigger
xiii. Twilight and increase in length of Day
1. When Sun is below horizon, its rays manage to reach Earth due to refraction
2. This gives rise to Twilight and thus refraction helps in increasing the length of Day.