Snell's law:

$\overline{){{\mathbf{\eta}}}_{{\mathbf{1}}}{\mathbf{s}}{\mathbf{i}}{\mathbf{n}}{{\mathbf{\theta}}}_{{\mathbf{1}}}{\mathbf{=}}{{\mathbf{\eta}}}_{{\mathbf{2}}}{\mathbf{s}}{\mathbf{i}}{\mathbf{n}}{{\mathbf{\theta}}}_{{\mathbf{2}}}}$

Critical angle:

$\overline{){{\mathbf{\theta}}}_{{\mathbf{c}}}{\mathbf{=}}{\mathbf{s}}{\mathbf{i}}{{\mathbf{n}}}^{\mathbf{-}\mathbf{1}}{\mathbf{\left(}}\frac{{\mathbf{\eta}}_{\mathbf{2}}}{{\mathbf{\eta}}_{\mathbf{1}}}{\mathbf{\right)}}}$

η_{1} = η_{blue} = 2.450

η_{2} = η_{air} = 1

θ_{c} = sin^{-1} (η_{air}/η_{blue}) = sin^{-1} (1/2.4500) = 24.09°

From the sum of angles in a triangle:

A beam of white light is incident on the surface of a diamond at an angle θ_{a}. (Figure 1) Since the index of refraction depends on the light's wavelength, the different colors that comprise white light will spread out as they pass through the diamond. For example, the indices of refraction in diamond are *n*_{red} = 2.410 for red light and *n*_{blue} = 2.450 for blue light. Thus, blue light and red light are refracted at different angles inside the diamond, as shown in the picture. The surrounding air has *n*_{air} = 1.000. Note that the angles in the figure are not to scale.

A diamond is cut such that the angle between its top surface and its bottom surface is α. For α = 45°, find the largest possible value of the incident angle θ_{a} such that the blue light is totally internally reflected off the bottom surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Refraction Of Light concept. You can view video lessons to learn Refraction Of Light. Or if you need more Refraction Of Light practice, you can also practice Refraction Of Light practice problems.