It is well known that singly, doubly and trebly linked carbon atoms affect the physical properties of substances, such as the refractive index, specific volume, and the heat of combustion; and by determining these constants for many substances, fairly definite values can be assigned to these groupings.
The slower propagation of light in gas or water than in air or vacuum may be attributed to a greater density, or to a less rigidity, in the former case; or we may adopt the more complicated supposition that both these quantities vary, subject only to the condition which restricts the ratio of velocities to equality with the known refractive index.
To the greater power belongs the weaker dispersive power (greater v), that is to say, crown glass; consequently the crown glass must have the greater refractive index for astigmatic and plane images.
It would therefore seem to be more appropriate to replace 1 - K- 1 by (2 - I)1112, where j s is the refractive index; but this expression involves the wave propagation for periods coinciding with free periods of the molecules.
The refractive indices of all glasses at present available lie between 1.46 and 1 90, whereas transparent minerals are known having refractive indices lying considerably outside these limits; at least one of these, fluorite (calcium fluoride), is actually used by opticians in the construction of certain lenses, so that probably progress is to be looked for in a considerable widening of the limits of available optical materials; possibly such progress may lie in the direction of the artificial production of large mineral crystals.
The combustibility of the diamond was predicted by Sir Isaac Newton on account of its high refractive power; it was first established experimentally by the Florentine Academicians in 1694.
Moreover, his association with glass manufacture led him to study the refractive indices of different kinds of glass; he further undertook abstruse researches on electrostatic capacity, the phenomena of the residual charge, and other problems arising out of Clerk Maxwell's electro-magnetic theory.
He found its focal length and hence the refractive index of the gas, C. Hajech (Ann.
Sir David Brewster found that Wollaston's form worked best when the two lenses were hemispheres and the central space was filled up with a transparent cement having the same refractive index as the glass; he therefore used a sphere and provided it with a groove at the equator (see fig.
Experimental methods were devised for the further exact measurements of the electromagnetic velocity and numerous determinations of the dielectric constants of various solids, liquids and gases, and comparisons of these with the corresponding optical refractive indices were conducted.