Definitions for Snells law

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  1. Snells law(Noun)

    the law that, for a ray incident on the interface of two media, the sine of the angle of incidence times the index of the refraction of the first medium is equal to the sine of the angle of refraction times the index of refraction of the second medium

  2. Origin: For Willebrord van Roijen Snell Dutch mathematician


  1. Snell's law

    Snell's law is a formula used to describe the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction, when referring to light or other waves passing through a boundary between two different isotropic media, such as water, glass and air. In optics, the law is used in ray tracing to compute the angles of incidence or refraction, and in experimental optics to find the refractive index of a material. The law is also satisfied in metamaterials, which allow light to be bent "backward" at a negative angle of refraction with a negative refractive index. Although named after Dutch astronomer Willebrord Snellius, the law was first accurately described by the scientist Ibn Sahl at the Baghdad court in 984. In the manuscript On Burning Mirrors and Lenses, Sahl used the law to derive lens shapes that focus light with no geometric aberrations. Snell's law states that the ratio of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction is equivalent to the ratio of phase velocities in the two media, or equivalent to the reciprocal of the ratio of the indices of refraction:


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