Using a non-local effective-medium approach, we analyze the refraction of light in a colloidal medium. We discuss the theoretical grounds and all the necessary precautions to design and perform experiments to measure the effective refractive index in dilute colloids. As an application, we show that it is possible to retrieve the size of small dielectric particles in a colloid by measuring the complex effective refractive index and the volume fraction occupied by the particles.
©2008 Optical Society of America
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