SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

A Simple High Precision Extinction Method for Measuring Refractive Index of Transparent Materials


Linearly polarized light remains linearly polarized after reflection from a transparent material at oblique incidence. The reflected polarization angle is determined from the extinction position of the analyzer. If the incident polarization angle is 45°, the reflected polarization angle gives the ratio of the reflected p-wave to s-wave. This value can be used to determine the index of refraction from Fresnel equations. With our instrument, the uncertainty in the deduced refractive index is ±0.0004. This method is fast, convenient and versatile enough to provide accurate results on small laboratory samples. In addition to measuring the refractive index, the method is sufficiently accurate to characterize the homogeneity of transparent materials.

Author Information

Nee, SF
Bennett, HE
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Developed by Committee: F01
Pages: 31–37
DOI: 10.1520/STP23610S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5179-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8194-0532-6