Lecture Demos: Optics

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Newton’s Rings

Newton’s Rings

Light is reflected from a thin film of air between a plane of glass and a spherical glass surface.

PIRA Code(s): 
6D30.10
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Interference
Operation: 
Shine light through the rings so that they are reflected onto a wall. An overhead is good for this. Turn the screws on the frame to change the interference pattern.
Safety: 
Over head projector may be obtained from demo 9A36.10.

Diffraction Gratings

Diffraction Gratings

These items are diffraction gratings of different kinds that can be used to view the spectral patterns of light sources or to view the patterns of light diffraction

PIRA Code(s): 
6D20.10
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Optics, Light Spectrum
Operation: 
For best results, observe the sun, moon, or fluorescent lights through the films.
Safety: 
Keep fingerprints off film.

Assortment of Glass Prisms

Assortment of Glass Prisms

This is an assortment of prisms. When light enters at an angle to the face of a prism, it is refracted. Since the index of refraction depends on the wavelength, the light is refracted at different angles and therefore it is dispersed into a spectrum of colors.

PIRA Code(s): 
6A40.99
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Optics, Refraction
Operation: 
Shine a focused beam of light at one of the facets of the prism. Light is refracted and split into its constituent wavelengths (i.e. Colors of the rainbow). These can be used with various other optical experiments.
Safety: 
Edges and corners may be sharp

Concave and Convex Mirrors

Concave and Convex Mirrors

This is a set of concave, convex, and flat mirrors.

PIRA Code(s): 
6A20.45
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Geometrical Optics, Reflection
Operation: 
Use the different types of mirrors to compare reflection.
Safety: 
Do not shine bright light into mirror.

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