View Single Post
Old 06-11-2019, 11:58 PM
Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
Dr. Strangelove is online now
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,736
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If the absorbtion were into a stable state, that would be true.
IMO, the bigger problem with that explanation is that it's just not necessary. Photon absorption/emission is a quantum phenomenon. But you don't need QM to explain index of refraction. All you need is that light is a wave, and that materials have semi-free charges that move in response to these waves, and that these charges generate new waves but with a phase difference. It's entirely a classical explanation.

QM adds some corrections on top of this of course, but those are higher-order effects. The primary effect of a slower effective speed of light, but without scattering, has a completely satisfying explanation without resorting to nasty quantum stuff.