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Laws of refraction

The refracted plane wave front EF is constructed from the incident plane wavefront BD as follows :

(i) From B as the center draw an arc of a circle of radius V2t, where t is the time taken by light to travel from D to E in medium :1, i.e. DE = V1t.

(ii) Draw tangent EF to this arc.

(iii) Then EF is the required refracted plane wavefront.

(iv) EG & parallel line BFH are refracted rays normal to the refracted wavefront EF.

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Thus, the laws of refraction are proved since the incident ray and the refracted ray lie on either sides of the normal and they all lie in the same plane by the construction in the diagram.

Index

17.1 Newton’s corpuscular Theory of Light
17.2 Huygens’ Wave Theory of Light
17.3 Laws of Reflection and Refraction of Light on the basis of wave theory