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List of indices of refraction

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Title: List of indices of refraction  
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List of indices of refraction

Many materials have a well-characterized refractive index, but these indices depend strongly upon the frequency of light. Standard refractive index measurements are taken at yellow doublet sodium D line, with a wavelength of 589 nanometres.

There are also weaker dependencies on temperature, pressure/stress, et cetera, as well on precise material compositions (presence of dopants et cetera); for many materials and typical conditions, however, these variations are at the percent level or less. Thus, it is especially important to cite the source for an index measurement if precision is required.

In general, an index of refraction is a complex number with both a real and imaginary part, where the latter indicates the strength of absorption loss at a particular wavelength—thus, the imaginary part is sometimes called the extinction coefficient k. Such losses become particularly significant, for example, in metals at short (e.g. visible) wavelengths, and must be included in any description of the refractive index.


Some representative refractive indices
Material λ (nm) n Ref.
Vacuum 1 (by definition)
Air at STP 1.000277
Gases at 0 °C and 1 atm
Air 589.29 1.000293 [1]
Carbon dioxide 589.29 1.00045 [2]

[3] [4]

Helium 589.29 1.000036 [1]
Hydrogen 589.29 1.000132 [1]
Liquids at 20 °C
Arsenic trisulfide and sulfur in methylene iodide 1.9 [5]
Benzene 589.29 1.501 [1]
Carbon disulfide 589.29 1.628 [1]
Carbon tetrachloride 589.29 1.461 [1]
Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) 589.29 1.361 [1]
Silicone oil 1.52045 [6]
Water 589.29 1.3330 [1]
Solids at room temperature
Titanium dioxide (Rutile phase ) 589.29 2.496 [7]
Diamond 589.29 2.419 [1]
Strontium titanate 589.29 2.41
Amber 589.29 1.55 [1]
Fused silica (also called Fused Quartz) 589.29 1.458 [1]
Sodium chloride 589.29 1.544 [8]
Other materials
Liquid helium 1.025
Water ice 1.31
Cornea (human) 1.373/1.380/1.401 [9]
Lens (human) 1.386 - 1.406
Acetone 1.36
Ethanol 1.36
Glycerol 1.4729
Bromine 1.661
Teflon AF 1.315 [10]
Teflon 1.35 - 1.38
Cytop 1.34 [11]
Sylgard 184 1.4118 [12]
PLA 1.46 [13]
Acrylic glass 1.490 - 1.492
Polycarbonate 1.584 - 1.586
PMMA 1.4893 - 1.4899
PETg 1.57
PET 1.5750
Crown glass (pure) 1.50 - 1.54
Flint glass (pure) 1.60 - 1.62
Crown glass (impure) 1.485 - 1.755
Flint glass (impure) 1.523 - 1.925
Pyrex (a borosilicate glass) 1.470 [14]
Cryolite 1.338
Rock salt 1.516
Sapphire 1.762–1.778
Sugar Solution, 25% 1.3723 [15]
Sugar Solution, 50% 1.4200 [15]
Sugar Solution, 75% 1.4774 [15]
Cubic zirconia 2.15 - 2.18
Potassium Niobate (KNbO3) 2.28
Silicon carbide 2.65 - 2.69
Cinnabar (Mercury sulfide) 3.02
Gallium(III) phosphide 3.5
Gallium(III) arsenide 3.927
Zinc Oxide 390 2.4
Germanium 4.01
Silicon 590 3.96 [16]

See also


External links

  • International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam
  • Ioffe institute, Russian Federation
  • Crystran, United Kingdom
  • Jena University, Germany
  • Hyperphysics list of refractive indices
  • Luxpop: Index of refraction values and photonics calculations
  • National Physical Laboratory, UK
  • List of Refractive Indices of Solvents
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