Refractive index database

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Optical constants of Bi (Bismuth)
Hagemann et al. 1974: n,k 0.00155–6.20 µm

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants


1) H.-J. Hagemann, W. Gudat, and C. Kunz. Optical constants from the far infrared to the x-ray region: Mg, Al, Cu, Ag, Au, Bi, C, and Al2O3, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 65, 742-744 (1975)
2) H.-J. Hagemann, W. Gudat, and C. Kunz. DESY report SR-74/7 (1974)


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Bismuth, Bi

Bismuth (Bi) is a heavy, brittle metal with a number of unique properties, including a low thermal conductivity and a high electrical resistivity. While it is not traditionally used in mainstream optical applications, bismuth compounds like bismuth germanate (BGO) and bismuth silicate (BSO) have garnered attention in scintillation detectors and nonlinear optics, respectively. Pure bismuth has a high refractive index and is transparent to various infrared wavelengths, making it potentially useful for specialized optical components in the IR range. However, it is mostly used in alloyed or compound form due to its brittleness and difficulty in fabrication. One key limitation in using bismuth or its compounds in optical applications is its relatively low melting point, which restricts its utility in high-temperature environments. Nonetheless, the metal's unique electrical and thermal properties, as well as its capacity to form compounds with interesting optical characteristics, make it a subject of ongoing research in the field of material science and optics.

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