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Relations between the real and imaginary parts of a response function. A response function relates a cause and its effect through an integral equation. The term dispersion refers to the fact that the index of refraction of a medium is a function of frequency. In 1926 H. A. Kramers and R. Kronig showed that the imaginary part of an index of refraction (that is, the absorptivity) determines the real part (that is, the refractivity); this is called the Kramers-Kronig relation. The term dispersion relation is now used for the analogous relation between the real and imaginary parts of the values of any response function.