|physics ν, μ a measure of the extent to which radiation is refracted on passing through the interface between two media. It is the ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction, which can be shown to be equal to the ratio of the phase speed in the first medium to that in the second. In the case of electromagnetic radiation, esp light, it is usual to give values of the absolute refractive index of a medium, that is for radiation entering the medium from free space|
refractive index n.
Abbr. n The ratio of the speed of light in air or in a vacuum to the speed of light in another medium.