The Physics
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Index of Refraction of Ice

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Jerry S. Faughn & Raymond A. Serway. College Physics 6th Edition. Canada: Thomson Learning, Inc., 2003: 692. Table 22.1 - Indices of Refraction for Various Substances, Measured with Light of Vacuum Wavelength at 589 nm
Substance Index of Refraction
Ice (H20) (0°C) 1.309
Nave, C.R. Moon Halo. Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University, 2005. "With the 60° apex angle of the prism formed by extending the sides of the crystal and the index of refraction of ice (n=1.31) one can calculate the angle of minimum deviation to be 21.84°." 1.31
Chemical Rubber Company. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 48th Edition. Florida: CRC Press, 1967-1968 Wavelengths are indicated as follows: H, λ = 586.6 mμ; Li, λ = 670.8 mμ; Hg, λ = 579.1 mμ; A, λ = 759.4 mμ; C, λ = 656.3 mμ; D, λ = 589.3 mμ; F, λ = 486.1 mμ.
Index of Refraction — Inorganic Compounds
Name Formula Index
Ice H20 1.3049, 1.3602(A), 1.3001, 1.3104 (D), 1.3133, 1.3147 (F)
Davis, Doug. Reflection and Refraction. Eastern Illinois University, 2002. "Typical values for the index of refraction:
n(air) = 1.00
n(ice) = 1.30"

When light travels from one medium to another, it bends or refracts because the speed of light changes as it travels through a different substance. A useful ratio known as the index of refraction (refractive index), n, can be made where:

The index of refraction (refractive index) is a number lacking dimensions, greater than or equal to one since the speed of light is always slower in any medium other than a vacuum.

In an experimental discovery by Willebrord Snell (1591-1627) named Snell's law, the product of the index of refraction of the incident medium and the sine of the angle of incidence from the normal is equivalent to the product in the other medium.

Factors affecting refractive indices are molecular phase, density, and temperature. The index of refraction for water is and interesting example that is primarily noted. The index of refraction of water as a liquid is 1.333 and as a solid (ice) is to be calculated around 1.309. Experiments on refractive indices in the past showed: almost a linear relationship in the index of refraction and temperature; higher-index materials to be more temperature-sensitive; and refractive index to increase as both the physical and optical density, tendency of atoms to maintain absorbed energy as electrons before becoming electromagnetic waves, of the material increases.

Munif Hussain -- 2005