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Snell's law Line breaks: Snell's law

Definition of Snell's law in English:


A law stating that the ratio of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction of a wave are constant when it passes between two given media.
Example sentences
  • Fermat proposed that light follows the path which takes the shortest time, enabling Snell's law of refraction to be deduced mathematically.
  • In bi-directional transmission distribution functions it is also necessary to include refraction, which is described by Snell's law.
  • The largest angle allowed in the photoresist film is inversely related to its refractive index, as calculated using Snell's law and assuming a 90° half angle in air.


Late 19th century: named after Willebrord van Roijen Snell (1591–1626), Dutch mathematician.

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