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A refractometer is a laboratory instrument used to measure the refractive index of liquids, solids, and gases. It works based on the principle of refraction, where light passing through a substance changes direction (bends) depending on the substance's refractive index. In a typical refractometer, a light source shines onto the sample, and a prism or a refractive surface bends the light as it passes through. A detector then measures the angle at which the light bends, which is directly related to the refractive index of the sample. Refractometers are commonly used in various industries and scientific fields, including chemistry, food and beverage production, pharmaceuticals, and gemology. They are particularly useful for determining the concentration of solutions, assessing purity, and monitoring the quality of materials.