Thursday, July 13, 2017
Refractive Index of Air as a Function of Wavelength
In 1908 Rentschler published a study on the refractive index of a gas for different wavelengths in the Astrophysical Journal. I used his data for air in Table II to find the coefficients of a Cauchy formula to fit the data. One can also use the NIST calculator to get data for air and do another fit.
The Rentschler data appears to be for dry air. If one computes the index of refraction for the CRC Handbook data using the given wavelengths for air and computed wavelengths for the Balmer series for hydrogen the plot appears to be displaced somewhat. Note that the humidity of the air also affects the index of refraction. I used the ratio of the wavelength in air to 5000Å for the formula so it would be easier to substitute wavelengths given in nanometers (nm) using 500/λ with the same coefficients.