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# 4.

## REFRACTIVE INDEX BY APPARENT DEPTH METHOD

1.1. AIM
1. To determine the refractive index of a liquid using the concept of apparent depth.

1.2 PRINCIPLE
A body placed in an optically denser medium will appear to be closer than it is. This is
due to the refraction of light.
When a body is immersed in a beaker full of a liquid, refractive index of the liquid (n)
can be determined as

=

where dr is the real depth of the body and da is the actual depth of the body.
= 1 3
And
= 2 3
Where l1 = distance from microscope to body in absence of liquid
l2 = distance from microscope to body in presence of liquid
l3= distance from microscope to surface level of liquid

1.3.EQUIPMENTS REQUIRED
Sl. No. Required item Utility
1 Beaker To contain the sample liquid
2 A liquid To determine its refractive index
3 A piece of paper To act as marker
4 Travelling Microscope To measure the lengths concerned
5 Marker To mark the paper

1
Hook =

Spring

Hanger with
weights

Ruler
1 =

(a) (b)
Figure 1: (a) Experimental Set-up (b) Free body diagram

1.4. PROCEDURE
Only one physical quantity needs to be measured in this experiment Length.
Make the following table

## S.No Physical quantity Measured with Least count

1 Length Travelling Microscope 10m

## A. Refractive Index by measuring depths

1. Mark the piece of paper with a marker and place it at the bottom of the beaker.
2. Focus the travelling microscope to see the mark clearly and measure this distance (from
microscope to mark) as l1.
3. Slowly fill three-fourth of the beaker with the sample liquid.
4. Without shifting the focus, move the travelling microscope upward to see the mark
clearly and measure this distance (from microscope to mark) as l2.
5. Gently float another marked piece of paper on the surface of the liquid.
6. Without shifting the focus, move the travelling microscope to see the marker at the
surface clearly.
7. Measure this distance (from microscope to surface) as l3.
8. Determine the real and apparent depth and calculate refractive index.

2
How to measure length:
1. Choose a reference point (preferably lower tip of the spring or lower end of the
mass) on the system for counting oscillations.
2. Mark y=0 where the reference point is located when m0 is loaded.

## 1.5. TABLES FOR RECORDING THE DATA 1

Table 1: Depth measurement observation table
S.No Distance from microscope to Real Depth Apparent Depth Refractive
Marker in Marker in Surface of (dr) (da) Index (n)
absence of presence liquid (l3)
liquid (l1) of liquid
(l2)

## 1.6 STUDY QUESTIONS

1. How would the marker look from above if on top of the surface of the sample liquid, a
thick layer of a more optically rarer liquid was present? Why?
2. If the microscope was aligned at an angle of 45o to the normal to liquid surface, can we
till measure the refractive index as the ratio of real and apparent depths?

## 1.7 FURTHER SCOPE OF EXPERIMENTS

1.

3
1.8 PRECAUTIONS
1. Once focused, the microscopes focusing is not changed.
2. The marker is seen through the microscope by keeping the latter directly above it.
1.9 SOURCES OF ERROR
1. Focusing of microscope may change during the experiment.
2. Angle between normal to liquid surface and axis of microscope could be significant.

1.10 THEORY
1. Refractive index of a medium (n) is defined as the ratio of speed of light (c) in vacuum
to that in the medium (v).

=

2. Due to refraction of light coming from the marker, the depth at which it is, appears to
the observer to be less than the actual depth of the marker.
=
For small angles, Tan Sin .

= =

Where n is the refractive index of the medium with respect to air.

## 1.11 FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES

Text books
NCERT Physics Text Book (2007). Chapter 9 Ray Optics and Optical Instruments. In
Textbook for Class XII (Vol. 2, pp. 317-318). NCERT.

Internet
Optics. Retrieved from www.PhysicsTutorials.org:
http://www.physicstutorials.org/home/optics/refraction-of-light/the-laws-of-refraction/73-
apparent-depth-real-depth

4
Java apps/apps

Videos
Tutor Vista (2013, April). Real Depth and Apparent Depth. Retrieved from
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30FCqf46TK8

Bibliography
NCERT Physics Text Book (2007). Chapter 9 Ray Optics and Optical Instruments. In
Textbook for Class XII (Vol. 2, pp. 317-318). NCERT.