Question

The absolute refractive index of water, sulphuric acid and quartz are 1.33, 1.43 and 1.54, respectively. In which of these materials does light travel fastest?

Solution

We know that absolute refractive index of a medium, speed of light in vacuum µ =speed of light in vacuum/speed in light in that medium or, speed of light in a medium = speed of light in vacuum/µ This means that, higher the absolute refractive index of a medium, lower will be the speed of light through that medium. Hence, the light travels fastest through water (having lowest refractive index among the three).

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