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  • Discuss the rainbow formation by thin films.

The bright colors seen in an oil slick floating on water or in a sunlit soap bubble are caused by interference. The brightest colors are those that interfere constructively. This interference is between light reflected from different surfaces of a thin film; thus, the effect is known as thin film interference    . As noticed before, interference effects are most prominent when light interacts with something having a size similar to its wavelength. A thin film is one having a thickness t size 12{t} {} smaller than a few times the wavelength of light, λ size 12{λ} {} . Since color is associated indirectly with λ size 12{λ} {} and since all interference depends in some way on the ratio of λ size 12{λ} {} to the size of the object involved, we should expect to see different colors for different thicknesses of a film, as in [link] .

Soap bubbles reflecting mostly purple and blue light with some regions of orange.
These soap bubbles exhibit brilliant colors when exposed to sunlight. (credit: Scott Robinson, Flickr)

What causes thin film interference? [link] shows how light reflected from the top and bottom surfaces of a film can interfere. Incident light is only partially reflected from the top surface of the film (ray 1). The remainder enters the film and is itself partially reflected from the bottom surface. Part of the light reflected from the bottom surface can emerge from the top of the film (ray 2) and interfere with light reflected from the top (ray 1). Since the ray that enters the film travels a greater distance, it may be in or out of phase with the ray reflected from the top. However, consider for a moment, again, the bubbles in [link] . The bubbles are darkest where they are thinnest. Furthermore, if you observe a soap bubble carefully, you will note it gets dark at the point where it breaks. For very thin films, the difference in path lengths of ray 1 and ray 2 in [link] is negligible; so why should they interfere destructively and not constructively? The answer is that a phase change can occur upon reflection. The rule is as follows:

When light reflects from a medium having an index of refraction greater than that of the medium in which it is traveling, a 180º phase change (or a λ / 2 shift) occurs.

The figure shows three materials, or media, stacked one upon the other. The topmost medium is labeled n one, the next is labeled n two and its thickness is t, and the lowest is labeled n three. A light ray labeled incident light starts in the n one medium and propagates down and to the right to strike the n one n two interface. The ray gets partially reflected and partially refracted. The partially reflected ray is labeled ray one. The refracted ray continues downward in the n two medium and is reflected back up from the n two n three interface. This reflected ray, labeled ray two, refracts again upon passing up through the n two n one interface and continues upward parallel to ray one. Ray one and ray two then enter an observer’s eye.
Light striking a thin film is partially reflected (ray 1) and partially refracted at the top surface. The refracted ray is partially reflected at the bottom surface and emerges as ray 2. These rays will interfere in a way that depends on the thickness of the film and the indices of refraction of the various media.

If the film in [link] is a soap bubble (essentially water with air on both sides), then there is a λ / 2 size 12{λ/2} {} shift for ray 1 and none for ray 2. Thus, when the film is very thin, the path length difference between the two rays is negligible, they are exactly out of phase, and destructive interference will occur at all wavelengths and so the soap bubble will be dark here.

The thickness of the film relative to the wavelength of light is the other crucial factor in thin film interference. Ray 2 in [link] travels a greater distance than ray 1. For light incident perpendicular to the surface, ray 2 travels a distance approximately 2 t size 12{2t} {} farther than ray 1. When this distance is an integral or half-integral multiple of the wavelength in the medium ( λ n = λ / n size 12{λ rSub { size 8{n} } =λ/n} {} , where λ size 12{λ} {} is the wavelength in vacuum and n size 12{n} {} is the index of refraction), constructive or destructive interference occurs, depending also on whether there is a phase change in either ray.

Questions & Answers

what is work
Ojo Reply
Force times distance
Karanja
product of force and distance...
Arif
Is physics a natural science?
Adebisi Reply
what is the difference between a jet engine and a rocket engine.
Samuel Reply
explain the relationship between momentum and force
Joseph Reply
A moment is equivalent multiplied by the length passing through the point of reaction and that is perpendicular to the force
Karanja
How to find Squirrel frontal area from it's surface area?
Pooja Reply
how do we arrange the electronic configuration of elements
Muhammed Reply
hi guys i am an elementary student
benedict Reply
hi
Dancan
hello
adolphus
are you an elementary student too?
benedict
no bro
adolphus
yes
Che
hi
Miranwa
yes
Miranwa
welcome
Miranwa
what is the four equation of motion
Miranwa
what is strain?
SAMUEL
Change in dimension per unit dimension is called strain. Ex - Change in length per unit length l/L.
ABHIJIT
strain is the ratio of extension to length..=e/l...it has no unit because both are in meters and they cancel each other
adeleke
How is it possible for one to drink a cold drink from a straw?
Karanja Reply
most possible as it is for you to drink your wine from your straw
Selina
state the law of conservation of energy
Sushma Reply
energy can neither be destroy or created,but can be change from one form to another
dare
yeah
Toheeb
it can neither be created nor destroyed
Toheeb
its so sample question dude
Muhsin
what is the difference between a principle and a law?
Mary Reply
where are from you wendy .?
ghulam
philippines
Mary
why?
Mary
you are beautiful
ghulam
are you physics student
ghulam
laws are ment to be broken
Ge
hehe ghulam where r u from?
Muhsin
yes
dare
principle are meant to be followed
dare
south Africa
dare
here Nigeria
Toheeb
principle is a rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
Ayoka
Rules are meant to be broken while principals to be followed
Karanja
principle is a rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
tathir
what is momentum?
prakash Reply
is the mass times velocity of an object
True
it is the product of mass and velocity of an object.
The momentum possessed by a body is generally defined as the product of its mass and velocity m×v
Usman
momentum is the product of the mass of a body of its velocity
Ugbesia
what about kg it is changing or not
vijay Reply
no mass is the quantity or amount of body so it remains constant everywhere
Ahsan
yes
Siyanbola
remains constant
taha
mass of an object is always constant. and that is universally applied.
Shii
mass of a body never changes but the weight can change due to variance of gravity at different points of the world
Saheed
what is hookes law
Joshua
mass of an object does not change
SAMUEL
Is weight a scalar quantity
esther Reply
weight is actually a force of gravity with which earth attracts us downwards so it is a vector quantity. and it has both direction and magnitude
Ahsan
ty
Denise
weight is the earth pull of the body
Ugbesia
why does weight change but not mass?
Theo
Theo, the mass of an object can change but it depends on how you define that object. First, you need to know that mass is the amount of matter an object has, and weight is mass*gravity (the "force" that attracts object A to the object B mass).
Nicolas
So if you face object A with object B, you will get a different result than facing object A with object C, so the weight of object A changes but not its mass.
Nicolas
Now, if you have an object and you take a part away from it, you are changing it mass. Lets use the human body and fat loss process as an example.
Nicolas
When you lose weight by doing exercise, you are being attracted by the same object before and after losing weight so the change of weight is related to a change of mass not a change of gravity.
Nicolas
The explanation of this is simple, we are composed of smaller particles, which are itself objects, so the loose of mass of an object actually is the separation of one object is two different ones.
Nicolas
But if you define an object because of its form and characteristics and not the amount of mass, then the object is the same but you have taken a part of it mass away.
Nicolas
Theo, weight =mass. gravity, here mass is fixed everywhere but gravity change in different places so weight change not mass.
ABHIJIT
yup weight changes and mass does not. That's why we're 1/3 our weight on the moon
clifford
weight is the product of mass × velocity w=m×v = m(v-u) but v=u+1/2at^ weight is a scalar quantity mass of an obj is the amount of particles that obj cont
Usman
mass is fixed always while weight is dynamic
Usman
Why does water wet glass but mercury does not?
Yusuf
thanks guys
Theo
Yusuf Shuaibu, for water the Adhessive force between water molecules and glass is greater than the cohessive force between it's own molecules but for Mercury the cohessive force will be greater in comparison with adhessive force. For this water wet glass but Mercury does not.
ABHIJIT
in electrostatic e bonite rod electron is static. they cannot flow to other. because static. is it correct?
prabir Reply
Is weight a scalar quantity
esther
wieght is the vector
ghulam
yes
Mohet
Yes
Karanja
what is specific heat capacity of watee
paul Reply
what is mass
Siyanbola
@siyanbola Resistance to acceleration
Dillon
The specific heat capacity of water is 1 calorie/1C°/ for 1 gram of water . it means that number of calories required to raise the temperature of 1g of water from 15 to 16C° is 1.
Khalil
understood?
Khalil
I think it's 1 in joules/kgC
Dillon
Anderson where are you from?. . &. what is your qualification
Khalil
Anderson i think you are right
Khalil
Micheal
lawrence
what is acceleration
lawrence
rate of change of velocity is acceleration
Khalil
its amount of heat to raise the temlrature through one kelvin of substance .
ghulam
The amount of heat energy required to raise the température of water by 1K
Cffrrcvccgg
infact a it must be a unit mass of water
Cffrrcvccgg
approximately equal to 4184J/Kg/K
Cffrrcvccgg
Just got through thermodynamics last semester. Also a change in 1 degree in celcius is equivalent to a change in 1 degree kelvin
Dillon
Also it's 1J/kgK or 4.184 cal/gK or /gC
Dillon
I think, at least
Dillon
Anderson are you good in physics numerical problems . if yes... . then plz help me. i am good in physics theory but nill in numericals
Khalil
I can try, what's the problem? I may be busy soon but I will reply today or tomorrow
Dillon
Numericals 🙄
Khalil
4200kJ/kgk...
Trevor
J
Trevor
SHM and uniform circular motion
Ishaq
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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