HD Animation: Snellius Law of Refraction

The interactive animation represents the geometric relationships that exist for a refracted beam of light (Snellius’ law of refraction).

Note on use

After starting the application, you can view the animation in full-screen mode. To do this, click on “View” and then on “Full screen”:

To exit full screen mode, press the Esc key.

Description of the animation

To change the angle of incidence of the light beam, click on the top of the beam and move the mouse to the left or right.

Alternatively, you can change the target area of the light beam. To accomplish this, move the marker at the bottom of the animation.

In addition to a straight surface, curved and wave-shaped surfaces can also be displayed. The shape of the surface can be changed using the points on the left and right sides.

The refractive index of the medium can be set between 1 and 10. The maximum refractive index observed in a naturally occurring material is 2.42. This value belongs to a mineral called zirconium oxide (also known as zirconia). Materials produced in laboratories can achieve higher refractive indices. Experiments have produced artificial materials with refractive indices of over 4. Such high-performance materials are often developed for specialised applications such as optical lenses, lasers and other optical devices.

To view the formulas in the animation, click on the content window of the animation.

Overview and Download

TitleSnellius Law of Refraction
Target audienceTeachers and lecturers
PlatformsMicrosoft® Windows®
Apple® Macintosh®
FeaturesFull screen mode
Lossless magnification
Large screens and screens supported
DownloadContact us

Instructional idea

The scene shown can be partially reproduced with an experimental set-up. The advantage of the animation is that the geometric relationships can be quickly clarified when repeating the material.

Version history

2014-06-01First version
2024-01-11New player application and minor corrections


Authoring tool: Adobe Animate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *