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Old Feb 17th 2009, 06:29 AM   #11
Join Date: Dec 2008
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[quote=hey jude;3408]
Originally Posted by ryansuchocki View Post

Why does the first sittuation occur, and not the second?[due to change in speed.(due to refractive index) so the waves bend towards normal and since wavefront has to be perpendicular so situation 2 occurs. i hope this answers the querry ]
The pictures are the same physically. But the white lines are supposed to be wave fronts. That means the line (or plane) of all points that are in phase. In the bottom picture they are not wave fronts. The points along the lines are not in phase. (you know that for a spherical wave the wave fronts are not straight lines). So the white lines in the bottom pictures does not mean anything.
Try to apply Huygens's principle to a case where there is no change in speed (reflection, for example) to get a better understanding of how it works.
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Old Mar 6th 2009, 03:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ryansuchocki View Post

I've been searching for an answer to this question for hours, and no-one else seems ever to have asked it. So, if anyone could help that would be great...

I understand the analogy of refraction involving a car driving, obliquely, across the boundary between two terrains - and that the difference in 'propagation' speeds affects the direction of the car - but i don't see how the car is a valid representation for a beam of light. The car 'bends' across the boundary because its particles are bonded together. If one of its sides slows down, the other side is inclined to remain attached - but what keeps the components of a light beam connected? What makes the wave front 'want' to remain a line? What stops one division of the front (possibly photons?) from speeding ahead (or falling behind) the divisions which have not yet reached the boundary?

Thanks in advance...
Light has two character, particle(photon) and wave. You can't see it in both form in the same time. Refraction is a phenomena that only could be explained by wave character.
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question, refraction

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