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A Level Physics Pupils Investigate Diffraction Gratings

A Level Physicists experimented with diffraction gratings

College I A Level Physics pupils have been investigating diffraction gratings, similar to those in optical equipment such as spectroscopes, which can be used to separate the different wavelengths of white light for observing objects, such as stars.

These diffraction gratings can also be used in less abstract items such as, in this case, a pair of children’s ‘rainbow glasses’ and kaleidoscopes. They use similar diffraction gratings and allow students to see the effect of the diffraction pattern with their own eyes. This makes the Physics more easy to view and comprehend.

The Sixth Form girls had the idea to try capture the effect on the camera of an iPad, and they were delighted to see that it worked!

Physics is incredible. It is wonderful to see some of the most abstract concepts with our own eyes, and how simply, with a different lens, we can view the world so differently. Today we saw the effect of diffraction grating on white light, comparing it to the effect on monochromatic light. The image shows the formation of the different wavelengths (colours) at different points due to the specific maxima points of each wavelength; this gives the effect of rainbow patterns that, the further from M=0 (the central maxima), start to overlap.” – Georgiana (College I)