How is the k vector related to the index of refraction?
I know k is a vector, bu how does it relate to the index of refraction?
This is for plasma physics, specifically whistler waves
- gintableLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
k is called the angular wave number. It is defined such that its magnitude is 2*Pi/lambda, where lambda is wavelength.
Do realize that the formula v=lambda*f must relate frequency to wavelength and wavespeed. Recall index of refraction is defined as n = c/v.
ALSO, most importantly, it is frequency which is unchanged during changing of optically dense media. Wavelength is sacrificial, and thus k is sacrificial as well. Change the value of n, and both lambda and k vary such that v=lambda*f, or v=omega/k can still be satisfied