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Lesson 13 – Diffraction Grating and Wave Plates

Posted on: Tuesday, June 21st, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

With the knowledge of interference and polarization, it is time to talk about the practical applications of both! Diffraction gratings are used to change the path of light and there are two types: transmission grating and reflection grating. A transmission grating utilizes diffraction to break light apart into different colors. A reflection grating has a […]

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Lesson 12 – Polarization Revisited

Posted on: Monday, June 6th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

Now that we have explored light waves, we can dive more in depth into polarization. In how to describe light, we mentioned that sunlight is a form of unpolarized light or natural light. But what exactly causes light to become polarized? As light is an electromagnetic wave, it has both an electric field and magnetic […]

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Lesson 11 – Fringes and Interferometers

Posted on: Friday, May 13th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

We left off in the interference post using water waves to represent the interference that occurs between light waves. A well known experiment having to do with interference of light is the double-slit experiment. In this experiment, light passes through two slits before reaching a screen. Rather than just one band of light, bands of […]

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Lesson 10 – Interference

Posted on: Friday, April 29th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

Besides explaining rainbows, why model light as a wave? The particle model of light is usually drawn with a particle traveling as a ray. Just by staring at a candle or light bulb however, we know that light travels in all directions. It would be impossible to draw out infinite rays traveling in all directions, […]

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Lesson 9 – Light Waves

Posted on: Friday, April 15th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

In “What is Light?”, we described light as both a wave and a particle under the conditions of the wave-particle duality. In the previous posts, we have mostly modeled light as a ray when discussing reflection and refraction. Only when we talk about diffraction and wavelength do we mention the wave property of light. While […]

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Lesson 8 – Prisms and Total Internal Reflection

Posted on: Monday, April 4th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

Besides lenses and mirrors, prisms are another group of common optical elements. White light that enters a prism leaves as many different colors due to the different refractive indexes of each color’s wavelength (a topic that will be covered in further depth in the next post). Besides refracting white light, prisms have another useful property […]

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Lesson 7 – The Eyepiece and Lens Requirements

Posted on: Monday, March 21st, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

In the previous post, we looked at how changing the focal lengths produced different images (and virtual images) for SINGLE lenses. Sometimes, however, a system of lenses is needed to produce a desired image. A system is composed of two or more lenses assembled together. A good example of a system is the eyepiece of […]

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Lesson 6 – Focal Length and Applications of Lenses

Posted on: Saturday, March 5th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

Focal length is important not just in terms of positive and negative. For convex lenses, different focal lengths can have drastically different images. If an object (u) is at a distance greater than two times its focal length (2f), then its image focal length (v) is between f and 2f (written as f < v […]

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Lesson 5 – Intro to Optical Components

Posted on: Friday, February 18th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

The properties of light evident in nature are utilized by humans through instruments such as lenses and mirrors. While one might think that glass is the main material used to make lenses, resin has become the most common material due to its lightness yet hardness (resistance to scratching). Lenses refract light while mirrors reflect light. […]

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Lesson 4 – How Does Light Travel? Part II: Refraction

Posted on: Friday, February 4th, 2022  In: Learning Optics with Austin

Why does a pencil look like it is snapped in half when partially placed in a container of water? The short answer is refraction. A more detailed explanation is that the rays of light bends when they pass from one medium to another. This bending of light from air to water produces a virtual image […]

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