optical density

Optical density is a measurement of the degree to which a refractive medium slows the transmission of light.

  • The optical density of a medium is not the same as its physical density.
  • The more optically dense a medium, the slower light travels through it.
  • The less optically dense (or rare) a material is, the faster light travels through it.
  • A vacuum has the least optical density and so light travels through it at a maximum speed of 299,792 kilometres per second.
  • Optical density accounts for the variation in refractive indices of different media.