We present a simple method to determine the refractive indices of transparent media using a laser distance meter. Indices of refraction have been obtained by measuring the speed of light in materials.1–6 Some speed of light techniques use time-of-flight measurements in which pulses are emitted by lasers and the time interval is measured for the pulse to travel from the laser to a detector. These experiments are relatively costly and use sophisticated equipment not always available in an educational institution. Our method uses a laser distance meter that can be purchased for under $80. The meter uses the accepted value of the speed of light in vacuum to determine distances based on a measured time of flight. The output is distance in meters or feet.
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PAPERS| March 01 2014
Index of Refraction Measurements Using a Laser Distance Meter
Phys. Teach. 52, 167–168 (2014)
Romulo Ochoa, Richard Fiorillo, Cris Ochoa; Index of Refraction Measurements Using a Laser Distance Meter. Phys. Teach. 1 March 2014; 52 (3): 167–168. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4865521
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