Designing refractive index fluids using the Kramers–Kronig relations†
For a number of optical applications, it is advantageous to precisely tune the refractive index of a liquid. Here, we harness a well-established concept in optics for this purpose. The Kramers–Kronig relation provides a physical connection between the spectral variation of the (real) refractive index and the absorption coefficient. In particular, a sharp spectral variation of the absorption coefficient gives rise to either an enhancement or reduction of the refractive index in the spectral vicinity of this variation. By using bright commodity dyes that fulfil this absorption requirement, we demonstrate the use of the Kramers–Kronig relation to predictively obtain refractive index values in water solutions that are otherwise only attained with toxic specialised liquids.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biological and bio-inspired optics