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UNDERSTANDING

TOTAL INTERNAL
REFLECTION OF
LIGHT

When light travels from a denser medium to

a less dense medium, it bends away from


normal. A small part of the incident ray is
reflected.
For light traveling through a denser
medium to a less dense medium, the angle
of refraction,r in the less dense medium is
larger than the angle of incidence,i in the
denser medium.

As the angle of incidence increases, the


angle of refraction also increases. The
angle of refraction reaches 90o before the
angle on incidence does. At the instance,
the refracted ray moves along the
boundary.
This the limit, which the light ray can be
refracted in air as the angle of refraction in
air cant be greater than 90o.

What is critical angle?


The

angle of incidence in the


denser medium when the angle of
refraction in the less dense
medium is equal to 90o.

If the angle of incidence is


increased further, ( i > c ), the light
no more refracted, but internally
reflected.
Total internal reflection is when
the ray of light is entirely reflected
from the surface at an angle of
incidence.

The two conditions for total internal


reflection to occur are:
i. Light ray passes from a denser
medium to a less dense medium.
ii. The angle of incidence in the
denser medium is greater than
the critical angle of the medium.

RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN CRITICAL
ANGLE AND
REFRACTIVE INDEX

The refractive index of a medium is


given as:
n = Sin i
Sin r

When light ray is reversed, it follows


the same pathway. This is the
principle of reversibility of light.

The refractive index water:

n = sin i
sin r
= sin 90o
sin c
= 1
sin c
c = sin-1 ( 1/n )

EXAMPLE 1
Which light ray exhibits total
internal reflection?

EXAMPLE 2
The diagram shows a light ray entering a
glass and refracted. What is the refractive
index of the glass block?

EXAMPLE 3

What is the critical angle


of diamond which has a
refractive index of 2.25?

EXAMPLE 4
a) A glass block has a refractive
index of 1.52. calculate the critical
angle, c for the glass.
b) The critical angle for water is 49o.
Determine the refractive index of
water.

EXAMPLE 5
Figure shows a light rays traveling
from air into a glass prism.

The critical angle of the glass is.?

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
CRITICAL ANGLE AND
REFRACTIVE INDEX

TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION


&
CRITICAL ANGLE

CRITICAL ANGLE, C

NATURAL PHENOMENA INVOLVING


TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION
1) Mirages
On hot day, a person traveling in a car will see an
imaginary pool of water appearing on the surface
of the road.

2) Rainbow
A rainbow is formed
when water droplets in
the rain refract the
sunlight. This process
involves two refraction
and a total internal
reflection.

APPLICATIONS OF TOTAL
INTERNAL REFLECTION
1) PERISCOPE & BINOCULAR
Optical instruments, make use of total internal
reflection within glass prism rather than
reflection by mirror. This due to the fact that the
critical angle, c of the glass (=42o) is less than
45o.

2) FIBRE OPTICS

An optical fibre
consists of an
inner core of high
refractive index
glass and
surrounded by an
outer cladding of
lower refractive
index.

NATURAL PHENOMENA
INVOLVING
TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION

TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION


&
CRITICAL ANGLE

APPLICATIONS OF
TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION