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Light fantastic - guidance notes equipment list at the end Visualising vibrations_________________________________________________ LIGHT To understand how light behaves,

, it is useful to look at the behaviour of other forms of energy, especially those that have wave properties. We will look at real effects, and at some models or analogies. Light, microwaves, radio signals, mobile phone signals, and sound all travel from place to place as waves. There are some important differences, but the similarities are more important. Although we speak of sound waves, we dont see them in everyday life we only hear them, or even feel them! Connect the power signal generator to the vibration generator (2 x 4mm plug leads). Set amplitude at minimum, frequency range 1 to 11Hz, main control at 3Hz. Switch on and increase the amplitude. Cant hear it? The sound is at too low a frequency, only 3 vibrations per second. Change range 10 to 110Hz. Now it is audible, at 30 vibrations per second (hertz). Switch off, reselect 1 to 11Hz range. Connect the red rubber cord to the moving centre pillar of the vibration generator. Tie the red cord to a heavy retort stand. Put the cord under slight tension. Explore the resonances: 1 wave, 2 waves, 3 waves, 4, 5 and 6 waves. Need to change range to 10 to 110Hz. As the frequency increases, the wavelength decreases. This is true for all types of waves: radio, light, and sound. With a steady pattern of six waves, show that the nodes can be touched (lightly) without destroying the wave pattern. Touch in two places (nodes 5 and 6, counted from the vibration generator). The pattern remains. Move the fingers at node 6, to the left or right. Comments? Remove fingers to let the pattern re-establish, then repeat the trick. Imagine the waves are waves of red light, arriving at a piece of plastic. If the molecules in the plastic are at the right spacing, then the red light goes through. My fingers are the piece of plastic and it is letting red light go through. If I change the spacing of the molecules, then the red light is stopped. If I change the frequency of the vibration, the wavelength changes this is a different colour of light. My fingers must be at a different spacing to let the light waves through. Perhaps my fingers are now a green filter, letting only green light through? We will return to this effect later.

Ripple tank making waves__________________________________________ DARK Ripple Tank set up to project downwards. Drip water at centre = person shouts in a field, sound wave travels away from them, slight echoes from the walls, OR a flashbulb goes off in the middle of a room and the light waves travel outwards, and are reflected by the walls. Attach a single dipper to the wave generator, run slow = person singing a steady note, sound waves travel away, run faster = person singing a higher note. Increased frequency, decreased wavelength, just as before. Change to plane dipper. Run to make plane, or straight waves = a beam of light, or microwaves, or sound waves travelling in one direction, at one frequency, one wavelength. Change to two dippers. Run to make a pattern = two sources at the same frequency gives us an interference pattern. The waves coming from one source meet those from the other source. Sometimes the crests coincide and we get a super crest, or two troughs coincide and we get a super trough. Sometimes a crest and a trough coincide and we get . . nothing . . flat water. In the pattern, you can see the waves, apparently going in certain directions, like fingers, with areas between in which there are no waves. This is an interference pattern. If it was sound, no waves means no sound! If it was light, that would mean no light! To show you that this can really happen, we must go back to some real sound.

Interference large scale____________________________________________ LIGHT Cheap stereo speakers connected together to the same source. Connect the power signal generator to a pair of small stereo speakers on long leads. Set frequency to 1 to 1.1kHz and frequency control at 1 giving 100Hz. Turn up the amplitude to give a tolerable hum. In the ripple tank, you saw two dippers creating identical circular waves, at the same frequency. The waves met and created an interference pattern. Here we have a similar situation. Two speakers creating identical sound waves, that spread out in the space around us. You cant see the waves, but you can hear them. Invite people to move around and listen (one ear only!) carefully. They should find loud and quiet zones (raise one hand when you find a quiet zone). The room, like the ripple tank, is full of waves. Sound waves from two sources. Sometimes the crests and troughs coincide and we get close to silence. This is a real, audible interference pattern. If I change the frequency . . increase it from 100Hz to 200Hz, what should happen to the interference pattern? The wavelength will be shorter, so the distance between silent zones will be smaller. This is also true for light and microwaves. There will be dead zones, and changing the frequency will change where they happen.

From waves to microwaves___________________________________________ LIGHT Connect the Microwave Transmitter (Tx) to its power supply. Nothing audible. Low power (15 milliwatts), no danger it would take many centuries to cook anything! Connect the Microwave Receiver (Rx) to its power supply. Connect a meter via the lead to the Receiver. Ask someone to observe the meter. We have a simple indication of the signal being received. A signal we cannot see or hear. Sound vibrations are in the range from 20 to 20,000 vibrations per second. These microwaves are much faster, around 10,000 million vibrations per second. But we can make their behaviour more obvious, by adding a tone, and doing away with the meter. The microwaves carry the signal, in the same way that radio waves carry Radio 2 to you at home. You dont hear the 88 to 91 megahertz you hear Terry Wogan. We can hear whether the microwave signal is being received. Switch on 1kHz tone and move the Tx and Rx around: Facing at various distances Facing via a mirror/reflector Via two mirrors zig zag fashion The beam of microwaves is reflected by the aluminium plates. I can do the same with a torch (or a laser), their light is reflected by the aluminium. Why is the microwave system more like the laser, than the torch? The microwave and laser operate at a fixed frequency, a single wavelength, like a singer always on the same note. A torch gives white light, a mixture of all colours as you will soon see: like a choir with everyone singing different notes! Lloyds mirror microwaves bounce off the mirror and meet the waves that travel directly. What happens when we move the Tx or Rx slowly back and forth, in a straight line? We get a changing signal. In the right conditions, we get a silent zone. We have an interference pattern again. This time with microwaves. Polarisation When you wear certain types of sunglasses, they do odd things to reflections from water surfaces. They polarize the light. Tx facing Rx place polarizing grille between and rotate by 90 degrees The signal can be reduced by polarization. The grille allows waves to go through like this (up and down) but not like this (side to side). In sunglasses, this is achieved by Polaroid filters, materials containing minute rows of crystals that allow light through as long as the waves are at the correct angle.

Laser light pure colour______________________________________________ DARK Solid state laser. Switch on. Avoid audiences eyes. The laser gives a single colour of light. One frequency, a fixed wavelength. Compared with the microwave, light waves are vibrating about 10,000 times faster. If time, bounce through same reflectors as used for microwave Tx and Rx. If time, project through diffraction gratings. When the laser light strikes the lines of the grating, they all act as though they were a single sources, generating circular waves. These spread out and interfere with each other. The interference pattern gives multiple images, with dark zones between like the silent zones, when we were using sound to make an interference pattern. So, by shining a light into a space, through a diffraction grating, we can create areas of darkness. Not quite what you would expect.

White light and Newtons experiment___________________________________ Here comes the choir! Place White LED Source (WLS) on a sheet of white paper/board. All colours of light a choir singing different notes! Whiter than ordinary incandescent lamps and a better mix than a halogen lamp. This is an ideal source for experiments in optics. Add a slit plate with Blu Tac to the front of the WLS. Select a narrow beam.


Add a cylindrical lens. Collimate the beam into a parallel sided ray. Add a slit plate to create three parallel rays. Place mirror, lenses, perspex block, etc to allow the three rays to go through. Total blackout is not necessary, as the WLS is quite intense. When Newton investigated light, he got into arguments with other scientists of the time. WLS + slit plate + cylindrical lens to make parallel beam + slit plate to make a single ray. Add a prism in the focused beam. Add a screen to capture the spectrum. Rotate the prism to achieve best dispersion. Newton said that white light is made up of all colours. Others said, no, no, the glass is adding colour to the light, corrupting Gods pure light the same way chandeliers and gew-gaws do. Newton went away and extended his experiment to answer his critics. Add a second slit plate, to select only green light. Add a second prism and catch the new image of the green light. Only green, Im afraid . . Newton had shown that the glass did not add colour, it simply bent different colours of light differently. This is called dispersion, and relies on light of different wavelengths behaving differently as the light passes from one medium to another, in this case from glass to air, and back to air. The WLS can be mounted on a stand and clamp or, with the accessory rod, it can be mounted on a Philip Harris optics bench. Now that we have taken white light apart, lets have a look at the colours separately.

A trick of the light?__________________________________________________ Switch on the LED Array.


We have eleven LEDs. White at the top, then a full spectrum from red through to violet. Very pretty, but what can we do with it? Colour filters distribute Please select the red filter you can easily check by noting the colour of the top LED. Because it is white, part of its light will pass through any of the filters. When you look through the red filter what happens to the other LEDs? If time - Voting procedure to create a sort of graph that describes the filters behaviour. This graph is the transmission characteristic for the material. Pass on share - Try a blue filter instead. For each filter we can see that it allows certain colours through, but blocks the others. Like my fingers, right back at the start, when the vibration generator was driving the red cord. Fingers at the right spacing the waves go through. Wrong spacing, the waves are blocked. The filters respond to the mixture of wavelengths, and allow some light through because their molecules have a particular size or spacing. Take back the colour filters. Issue diffraction gratings 300lines/mm. Hold close to the eye, label at the top and look at the LED Array. The central image is coming directly through the grating. On either side is a first order image, and possibly a second order image. Notice that the white LEDs light is spread out into a spectrum, just as the prism did earlier. Look at the images, at either side, of the other LEDs. Is each LED a pure colour? Is ANY LED a pure colour? Pass on and share. You can see that each LED appears to be a single colour to our naked eye, but gives a range of colours when you look through the diffraction grating. Each colour of light has a different frequency, a different wavelength. When the different waves pass through the diffraction grating, they behave slightly differently and give the patterns you see. By doing some simple measurements, knowing the line spacing on the diffraction grating, using a ruler and a calculator, we can work out the wavelength for each colour of light. Using a voltmeter, we can relate the energy levels in each LED to the wavelength of light. This takes us into quantum physics and something called Plancks Constant.

Colour mixing______________________________________________________ DARK Colour mixer + control box no diffuser at first. Switch on and set 20% brightness to show inner and outer LEDs, and controllability. Turn to face the screen/wall, i.e. away from the audience. Light the wall/screen in red, then blue then green. What happens if we mix colours? Add diffuser to inner LEDs, adjust to get the wall/screen looking white. Add the aperture screen, to get the classic overlapping text book diagram. Turn the LEDs off and on, to show mixing by overlapping. So, now we know the rules about mixing, lets look at some shadows. Hand in between the mixer and screen. How do I make the yellow shadow disappear? Discuss - turn off blue. Now, lets look at some familiar objects. Coloured cards, coloured ball, Kit Kat or Coke Can. We perceive colour because the different wavelengths of light interact with the rods and cones in our retina. The colours we see depend on the colour of light that is shining on the object, and the reflective properties of the object we are looking at. Seeing is believing . . but are you sure?

Light fantastic workshop - UNILAB and Philip Harris product guide

For a copy of the notes describing the demonstrations, please e-mail amarsh@philipharris.co.uk Visualising vibrations______________________________________________________________________ Spacesaver Power Signal Generator H10579 Vibration Generator H31134 Vibration Generator Accessory Kit H30920 Ripple tank making waves________________________________________________________________ Ripple Tank kit H25730 Ripple Tank PSU L01077 Interference large scale__________________________________________________________________ Spacesaver Power Signal Generator H10579 Pair of small stereo speakers on long leads buy cheaply from a car boot sale and wire them yourself using cheap loudspeaker wire. From waves to microwaves________________________________________________________________ Microwave Transmitter J73478 Microwave Receiver J73479 Aluminium reflector 210x210mm Aluminium reflector 210x60mm Hardboard/semi-reflector 210x210 Polarisation grille J73480 for the kit Crystal microphone H27581 Basic Student meter H30981 Multiplier 1V and 5V for meter H31006 Earphones any normal Walkman or iPod phones will work. Laser light pure colour___________________________________________________________________ Solid state laser + key H83651 Diffraction gratings various 80 lines/mm A46267 300lines/mm A46279 600lines/mm A46280 White light and Newtons experiment_________________________________________________________ White LED Source L87348 Slit plates G98647 Lenses, cylindrical +10D or +7D L27303 or L27297 Prisms, Extra Dense Flint glass (EDF) A46413 Holders for slit plates and small white screens + a large sheet of white paper/card A selection of lenses and mirrors from a typical raybox kit. H25857 A trick of the light?________________________________________________________________________ LED Array L75279 Diffraction gratings various 80 lines/mm A46267 300lines/mm A46279 600lines/mm A46280 Colour filters RGB CMY cheap ones are ok Easy-Read meter 20V attachment 4mm leads + crocodile clips A46012

Colour mixing________________________________________________________________________ Colour Mixer & accessories L75267 Diffuser greaseproof paper or tracing film Objects in various colours sheets of card, ball, Kit Kat, fruit, etc.