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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

Electric current is the flow of electrons
Kelly Reply
is there really flow of electrons exist?
babar
Yes It exists
Cffrrcvccgg
explain plz how electrons flow
babar
if electron flows from where first come and end the first one
babar
an electron will flow accross a conductor because or when it posseses kinectic energy
Cffrrcvccgg
electron can not flow jist trasmit electrical energy
ghulam
free electrons of conductor
ankita
electric means the flow heat current.
Serah Reply
electric means the flow of heat current in a circuit.
Serah
What is electric
Manasseh Reply
electric means?
ghulam
electric means the flow of heat current in a circuit.
Serah
a boy cycles continuously through a distance of 1.0km in 5minutes. calculate his average speed in ms-1(meter per second). how do I solve this
Jenny Reply
speed = distance/time be sure to convert the km to m and minutes to seconds check my utube video "mathwithmrv speed"
PhysicswithMrV
why we cannot use DC instead of AC in a transformer
kusshaf Reply
becuse the d .c cannot travel for long distance trnsmission
ghulam
what is physics
Chiwetalu Reply
branch of science which deals with matter energy and their relationship between them
ghulam
Life science
the
what is heat and temperature
Kazeem Reply
how does sound affect temperature
Clement Reply
sound is directly proportional to the temperature.
juny
how to solve wave question
Wisdom Reply
I would like to know how I am not at all smart when it comes to math. please explain so I can understand. sincerly
Emma
Just know d relationship btw 1)wave length 2)frequency and velocity
Talhatu
First of all, you are smart and you will get it👍🏽... v = f × wavelength see my youtube channel: "mathwithmrv" if you want to know how to rearrange equations using the balance method
PhysicswithMrV
nice self promotion though xD
Beatrax
thanks dear
Chuks
hi pls help me with this question A ball is projected vertically upwards from the top of a tower 60m high with a velocity of 30ms1.what is the maximum height above the ground level?how long does it take to reach the ground level?
mahmoud
please guys help, what is the difference between concave lens and convex lens
Vincent Reply
convex lens brings rays of light to a focus while concave diverges rays of light
Christian
for mmHg to kPa yes
Matthew
it depends on the size
Matthew Reply
please what is concave lens
Vincent
a lens which diverge the ray of light
rinzuala
concave diverges light
Matthew
thank you guys
Vincent
A diverging lens
Yusuf
What is isotope
Yusuf
each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties; in particular, a radioactive form of an element. "some elements have only one stable isotope
Karthi
what is wire wound resistors?
Naveedkhan Reply
What are the best colleges to go to for physics
Matthew Reply
I would like to know this too
Trevor
How do I calculate uncertainty in a frequency?
Rebecca Reply
Calculate . ..
Olufunsho
What is light wave
Sakeenah Reply
What is wave
Sakeenah
What is light
Sakeenah
okay
True
explain how neurons communicate feed and stimulate
Jeff
Great science students
Omo
A wave is a disturbance which travels through the medium transferring energy from one form to another without causing any permanent displacement of d medium itself
OGOR
Light is a form o wave
OGOR
Neurons communicate by sending message through nerves in coordination
OGOR
What are petrochemicals, give two examples
OGOR
light has dual nature, particle as well as wave. when we want to explain phenomena like Interference of light, then we consider light as wave.
Lalita
what is it as in the form of it or how to visualize it or what it contains
Matthew
particles of light are like small packets of energy called photons, and flow or motion of photons is wave like
Lalita
light is just the energy of which photons emit
Matthew
the wave is how they travel
Matthew
photons do not emitt energy, they are energy. They are massless particles.
Lalita
a wave is a disturbance through the medium. Have you ever thrown a stone in still water? the disturbance produced travels in form of wave, the wave produced by throwing stone in still water are circular in nature.
Lalita
a photon does contain mass when in motion. it doesnt contain mass when at rest
Matthew
when would it ever be at rest
Bob
a wave is a disturbance of which energy travels
Matthew
that's darkness. darkness has no mass because the photons within in aren't moving or producing energy
Matthew
Hi guys. Please I've been trying to understand the concept of SHM, but it's not been really easy, could someone please explain it to me or suggest a site I could visit? Thank you.
Odo
***google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=***hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/shm.html&ved=2ahUKEwiwu_PYqfzdAhXOmVkKHXi2CvkQFjAPegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw0h5IZmrkQK4KtEMygT4ZGK
Matthew
effective mass of photons only comes into picture when we consider it accelerating in gravitational field, mass of photon has no meaning as it is always travelling with speed of light and is never at rest. with that high speed, Energy and momentum are equivalent. and darkness is absense of photons.
Lalita
darkness is absense of light. not the presence of 'resting photons'. photons are never at rest.
Lalita
photons are present in darkness but don't give off any light because they are stationary with no mass or energy. once a force makes them move again they will gain mass and give off light
Matthew
this theory is presented in Einsteins theory of special relativity
Matthew
A.The velocity Vo for the streamline flow of liquid in a small tube depends on the radius r of the tube,the density and the viscosity iter of the liquid .use the dimensional analysis to obtain an expression for the velocity . B.Given that Vo =r square ×p all over 4×iter ×l
True
A.The velocity Vo for the streamline flow of liquid in a small tube depends on the radius r of the tube,the density (rho)and the viscosity (iter)of the liquid. Use the method of dimensional analysis to obtain an expression for the velocity . B.Given that Vo =r square x p all over 4 x iter x l
True
Matthew, photons ARE light. there is no such thing as a photon that isn't moving. in fact the speed they move at is called C (for constant) in physics. through a vacuum they always travel at this speed no matter what. they can not slow down; except in another medium.
Brad
The reason why a photon can go at this speed is BECAUSE it had no mass. nothing can go this speed or faster because it needs to have no mass or negative mass. that's why it's called the constant.
Brad
when a photon hits something that is opaque, this is the only way to "stop"it. it isn't merely stopped but absorbed and turned into heat energy, then the remaining energy is reflected in different wavelengths. that reflection is what we call color. the darker something is, the less photons are ther
Brad
e. complete blackness is the absolute absence of photons altogether. I believe what you're referring to is not speed, but wavelength, which is indirectly proportional to the amount of energy a particular photon is made up of.
Brad
in order for a photon to have zero wavelength, it must (at least theoretically) have infinite energy.
Brad
about mass: you may have photons confused with electrons. elections have a mass so small that people say they are without mass, but they do. it is called electron mass or Me-.
Brad
you may also be getting electrons and photons confused because of the cherenkov effect. that is what happens when a particle travels faster than light IN THAT PARTICULAR MEDIUM. I emphasize that because no other particle besides photons can go the speed of c.
Brad
when a particle goes faster than light in a particular medium, a blue light is emitted, called cherenkov radiation. this is why nuclear reactors glow blue.
Brad
nuclear reactors release so much energy that when they emit electrons, those electrons are given enough energy to go faster than light in that medium (in this case water), releasing blue light. if you put the reactor in air or a vacuum, this effect wouldn't happen because the speed of light in air
Brad
is very close to c, which is the universal speed limit. I'd you did go faster than c, time would go backwards and you would have infinite theoretical mass and probably spagghettify, like with a black hole.
Brad
*if
Brad
*electrons
Brad
light waves can travel through a vacuum, and do not require a medium. In empty space, the wave does not dissipate (grow smaller) no matter how far it travels, because the wave is not interacting with anything else.
Salim
Please is there any instructional material for sounds Waves, Echo, light waves
Salami
how far there is hot topic that is boarding me now
Abraham
linear motion
Ahmed
kinematic
Abraham
tell us about it
Akinsanya
kinematic
Emma
kinematics disscuss the motion without cuases ...
ghulam
wow I like what am seeing here I need someone to brush me up in physics in fact I'll say I know nothing
Godslight
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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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