Refractive index database

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Optical constants of LIQUIDS
Acetone (C3H6O)

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants

Dispersion formula [ i ]



20 °C


J. Rheims, J Köser and T Wriedt. Refractive-index measurements in the near-IR using an Abbe refractometer, Meas. Sci. Technol. 8, 601-605 (1997)


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Acetone, C3H6O

Acetone (C3H6O): A clear, colorless liquid, acetone is a fast-evaporating solvent known for its distinct sweet smell. Commonly used as a nail polish remover and paint thinner, it is also an essential industrial solvent, playing a role in the production of pharmaceuticals, plastics, and other chemicals. Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent in the laboratory setting for cleaning and in organic synthesis. It has low absorption in the UV and visible spectral regions, making it useful for certain optical applications, especially as a solvent in liquid-based systems.

Chemical formula


Other names

  • Propanone
  • Dimethyl ketone
  • 2-Propanone
  • Propan-2-one
  • Dimethylformaldehyde
  • β-Ketopropane
  • DMK

External links


Liquids play a unique and often underappreciated role in optical systems, offering a set of properties that can complement or replace those of solid materials like glass and crystals. With variable density, temperature-dependent refractive indices, and the ability to flow and fill spaces, liquids are employed in applications ranging from simple lenses to complex adaptive optical elements. Common types of optical liquids include oils, water, and specialty fluids engineered for high refractive index or low dispersion. Liquids are particularly useful in adjustable lenses, interferometers, and optical tweezers, as they allow for dynamic control of optical characteristics. Some advanced liquid systems, such as liquid crystals, can even undergo phase transitions that drastically change their optical behavior, making them valuable in display technologies and variable optical attenuators. It's worth noting that the optical properties of liquids, like refractive index and absorption, can vary significantly with temperature, pressure, and chemical composition, making calibration and environmental control crucial for precise applications. Liquids are also generally more susceptible to impurities and environmental factors like evaporation, requiring sealed or controlled systems for long-term reliability. Overall, liquids offer a versatile and dynamic set of options for optical engineers, providing opportunities for innovative solutions in both established and emerging optical technologies.

External links