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Full text of "Scientific Papers - Vi"

586                            .-        ON  THE  OPTICAL  CHARACTER                                  [438
The first, so far as I know, to challenge the "structure" theory was Dr B. Walter, whose tract* includes an elaborate discussion, accompanied by original observations, of the colours which may arise in the act of reflexion, and decides unequivocally that the colours now in question, with one or two possible exceptions, are due to surface, or quasi-metallic, reflexion as described by Haiclinger, Brewster, and Stokes. The first of these writers formulated a law, named after him, which identifies the surface-colour with those rays which would be most intensely absorbed within the substance. The theory of "anomalous dispersion" since developed shows, however, that the matter does not stop there, and Walter emphasizes, that much of the surface-colour may be ascribed to rays which are not themselves intensely absorbed, but being situated near an absorption-band, are abnormally refracted, and hence in accordance with Fresnel's laws are abnormally reflected. On the red side of the band the refractive index is increased and on the blue side diminished, so that when the substance is in air the surface reflexion is redder than according to Haidinger's law; but this conclusion may need to be modified when the substance is in contact with a strongly refractive solid, as when a dye spread upon a glass plate is examined from the glass side. In some cases it appears that the surface-colour is due as much, or even more, to these rays excessively refracted (and consequently reflected) as to those which would be intensely absorbed and are reflected in accordance with Haidinger's rule.
The departure from Haidinger's rule is specially important when we consider what happens at oblique incidences and with polarized light. The rays reflected in virtue of the extreme opacity of the substance to them are comparatively unaffected, and are indeed rendered more .prominent by the appropriate use of a nicol. As Stokes saysf: "In the case of the substances at present considered, the reflected light does not vanish, but at a considerable angle of incidence the pencil polarized perpendicularly to the plane of incidence becomes usually of a richer colour, in consequence of the removal, in a great measure, of that portion of the reflected light which is independent of the metallic properties of the medium; it commonly becomes, also, more strictly related to that light which is absorbed with such great intensity." But, as Walter appears to have been the first to explain, there is a further important change of colour with the angle of incidence, when the light-vibrations are in the plane of incidence, in virtue of the abnormal refraction with its accompanying abnormal polarizing angle. In the usual case, where the dye is in contact with air, the polarizing angle for the rays lying on the red side of the absorption-band is unusually high, so that these, rays, which at moderate angles- of incidence contribute largely to the resultant colour, are extinguished at incidences of from 60 to 70. In consequence,
* Die OberflacJien oder Schillerfarben, Braunschweig, 1895.
t Phil. May. Vol. vi. Dec. 1853, p. 393; MatJi. and Pliys. Papers, Vol. iv. p. 42.tures, p. 626,1807). If the mercury be wet, boiling may be dispensed with and negative pressures of two atmospheres are easily demonstrated.