Geometrical Optics; Refraction and Dispersion

Optics Disk

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Angles of incidence, reflection, and refraction clearly demonstrated.

[In-Depth Description]

Blackboard Optics

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Mobile ray-tracing kit to demonstrate basic geometrical optics.

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Microscope and Telescope Optics

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Long and short focal length lenses are arranged on an optics rail to model these two optical instruments.

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Relative Indices of Refraction

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A lens immersed in a fish tank of water seems to lose its refractive powers to focus light.

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Disappearing Prism

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Immersion of quartz prism in water/glycerine solution of equal refractive index.

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Paraxial Ray Optics Cloaking

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A combination of four lenses make a 3-D cloak with visible light

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Wheel & Axle Wavefront

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Mechanical analog/simulation of wavefront at boundary between two mediums.

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Florence's Rainbow

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A rainbow is produced with a water-filled Florence flask; with monochromatic illumination, this becomes Descartes' rainbow.

[In-Depth Description]

Giant Raindrop

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Large water-filled plastic raindrop shows, by laser ray tracing, the opticsof rainbow making.


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Prism and white light; second prism shows no further dispersion.

Achromatic Prism

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Refraction without dispersion!

Hotplate Mirage

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Laser beam is refracted up when a hotplate is positioned below it.

[In-Depth Description]

Hot Road Mirage

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Viewing down a heated model roadway produces a mirage.

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Schlieren Optics

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Optical technique that allows us to see refraction caused by gases.

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Bouncing Light Beam

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Long tank with sugar solution forming refractive index gradient; laser beam bounces down the tank by total internal reflection/refraction.

[In-Depth Description]

Real and Virtual Images

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Formation of images using lenses.

Refraction of Microwaves

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10 cm microwaves refracted through wax prism.

Critical Angle

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Optics disk ensemble using plastic semi circle.

[In-Depth Description]

Fishtank TIR

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Laser beam reflected off underside surface of water in tank.

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Fiber Optics

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Fiber optic strands and clear plastic rods transmit laser light.

[In-Depth Description]

Bucket of Light

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Stream of water transmits laser light as it arcs into a bucket.

[In-Depth Description]

Frustrated Total Internal Reflection

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To reflect or not to reflect at the interface of two prisms in intimate contact? That is the question.

[In-Depth Description]

Contact Us

Mailing Address: Lecture Demonstration Services, Science Center, Rm B-08A, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
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