<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
  • Explain the phenomenon of dispersion and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.

Everyone enjoys the spectacle of a rainbow glimmering against a dark stormy sky. How does sunlight falling on clear drops of rain get broken into the rainbow of colors we see? The same process causes white light to be broken into colors by a clear glass prism or a diamond. (See [link] .)

Part a of this figure shows the colors produced by a rainbow. Part b shows the colors produced by a prism.
The colors of the rainbow (a) and those produced by a prism (b) are identical. (credit: Alfredo55, Wikimedia Commons; NASA)

We see about six colors in a rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet; sometimes indigo is listed, too. Those colors are associated with different wavelengths of light, as shown in [link] . When our eye receives pure-wavelength light, we tend to see only one of the six colors, depending on wavelength. The thousands of other hues we can sense in other situations are our eye’s response to various mixtures of wavelengths. White light, in particular, is a fairly uniform mixture of all visible wavelengths. Sunlight, considered to be white, actually appears to be a bit yellow because of its mixture of wavelengths, but it does contain all visible wavelengths. The sequence of colors in rainbows is the same sequence as the colors plotted versus wavelength in [link] . What this implies is that white light is spread out according to wavelength in a rainbow. Dispersion is defined as the spreading of white light into its full spectrum of wavelengths. More technically, dispersion occurs whenever there is a process that changes the direction of light in a manner that depends on wavelength. Dispersion, as a general phenomenon, can occur for any type of wave and always involves wavelength-dependent processes.

Dispersion

Dispersion is defined to be the spreading of white light into its full spectrum of wavelengths.

A continuous distribution of colors with their range of wavelength lambda in nanometers, starting with infrared at 800 nanometers. Following infrared is the visible region with red at 700 nanometers, orange, yellow at 600 nanometers, green, blue at 500 nanometers, and violet at 400 nanometers. The distribution ends with ultraviolet at 300 nanometers.
Even though rainbows are associated with seven colors, the rainbow is a continuous distribution of colors according to wavelengths.

Refraction is responsible for dispersion in rainbows and many other situations. The angle of refraction depends on the index of refraction, as we saw in The Law of Refraction . We know that the index of refraction n size 12{n} {} depends on the medium. But for a given medium, n size 12{n} {} also depends on wavelength. (See [link] . Note that, for a given medium, n size 12{n} {} increases as wavelength decreases and is greatest for violet light. Thus violet light is bent more than red light, as shown for a prism in [link] (b), and the light is dispersed into the same sequence of wavelengths as seen in [link] and [link] .

Making connections: dispersion

Any type of wave can exhibit dispersion. Sound waves, all types of electromagnetic waves, and water waves can be dispersed according to wavelength. Dispersion occurs whenever the speed of propagation depends on wavelength, thus separating and spreading out various wavelengths. Dispersion may require special circumstances and can result in spectacular displays such as in the production of a rainbow. This is also true for sound, since all frequencies ordinarily travel at the same speed. If you listen to sound through a long tube, such as a vacuum cleaner hose, you can easily hear it is dispersed by interaction with the tube. Dispersion, in fact, can reveal a great deal about what the wave has encountered that disperses its wavelengths. The dispersion of electromagnetic radiation from outer space, for example, has revealed much about what exists between the stars—the so-called empty space.

Questions & Answers

hi guys can you teach me how to solve a logarithm?
Villaflor Reply
how about a conceptual framework can you simplify for me? needed please
Villaflor
Hello what happens when electrone stops its rotation around its nucleus if it possible how
Afzal
I think they are constantly moving
Villaflor
yep what is problem you are stuck into context?
S.M
not possible to fix electron position in space,
S.M
Physics
Beatriz
yes of course Villa flor
David
equations of kinematics for constant acceleration
Sagcurse Reply
A bottle full of water weighs 45g when full of mercury,it weighs 360g.if the empty bottle weighs 20g.calculate the relative density of mercury and the density of mercury....pls I need help
Lila Reply
well You know the density of water is 1000kg/m^3.And formula for density is density=mass/volume Then we must calculate volume of bottle and mass of mercury: Volume of bottle is (45-20)/1000000=1/40000 mass of mercury is:(360-20)/1000 kg density of mercury:(340/1000):1/50000=(340•40000):1000=13600
Sobirjon
the latter is true
Sobirjon
100g of water is mixed with 60g of a liquid of relative density 1.2.assuming no changes in volume occurred,find the average relative density of the mixture...take density of water as 1g/cm3 and density of liquid 1.2g/cm3
Lila
plz hu can explain Heisenberg's uncertainty principle
Emmanuel Reply
who can help me with my problem about acceleration?
Vann Reply
ok
Nicholas
how to solve this... a car is heading north then smoothly made a westward turn during the travel the speed of the car remains constant at 1.5km/h what is the acceleration of the car? the total travel time of the car as it smoothly changed its direction is 15 minutes
Vann
i think the acceleration is 0 since the car does not change its speed unless there are other conditions
Ben
yes I have to agree, the key phrase is, "the speed of the car remains constant...," all other information is not needed to conclude that acceleration remains at 0 during the entire time
Luis
who can help me with a relative density question
Lila
1cm3 sample of tin lead alloy has mass 8.5g.the relative density of tin is 7.3 and that of lead is 11.3.calculate the percentage by weight of tin in the alloy. assuming that there is no change of volume when the metals formed the alloy
Lila
morning, what will happen to the volume of an ice block when heat is added from -200°c to 0°c... Will it volume increase or decrease?
adefenwa Reply
no
Emmanuel
hi what is physical education?
Kate
BPED..is my course.
Kate
No
Emmanuel
I think it is neither decreases nor increases ,it remains in the same volume because of its crystal structure
Sobirjon
100g of water is mixed with 60g of a liquid of relative density 1.2.assuming no changes in volume occurred,find the average relative density of the mixture. take density of water as 1g/cm3 and density of liquid as 1.2g/cm3
Lila
Sorry what does it means"no changes in volume occured"?
Sobirjon
volume can be the amount of space occupied by an object. But when an object does not change in shape it will still occupy the same space. Thats why the volume will still remain the same
Ben
Most soilds expand when heated but if it changes state at 0C it will have less volume. Ice floats because it is less dense ie a larger mass per unit volume.
Richard
how to calculate velocity
Okwethu Reply
v=d/t
Emeka
his about the speed?
Villaflor
how about speed
Villaflor
v=d/t
Nisha
hello bro hw is life with you
Jacob Reply
Mine is good. How about you?
Chase
Hi room of engineers
lawan Reply
yes,hi sir
Okwethu
hello
akinmeji
Hello
Mishael
hello
Jerry
hi
Sakhi
hi
H.C
so, what is going on here
akinmeji
u are all wlc just ask your question anybody. can answer
Ajayi
good morning ppl
ABDUL
If someone has not studied Mathematics enough yet, should theu study it first then study Phusics or Study Basics of Physics whilst srudying Math as well?
Riaz Reply
whether u studied maths or not, it is advisable to start from d basics cuz it is essential to know dem
Nuru
yea you are right
Badmus
wow, you got this w/o knowing math
Thomas
I guess that's it
Thomas
later people
Thomas
mathematics is everywhere
Anand
thanks but dat doesn't mean it is good without maths @Riaz....... Maths is essential in sciences particularly wen it comes to PHYSICS but PHYSICS must be started from the basic which may also help in ur mathematical ability
Nuru
A hydrometer of mass 0.15kg and uniform cross sectional area of 0.0025m2 displaced in water of density 1000kg/m3.what depth will the hydrometer sink
Lila
16.66 meters?
Darshik
16.71m2
aways
,i have a question of let me give answer
aways
the mass is stretched a distance of 8cm and held what is the potential energy? quick answer
aways
oscillation is a to and fro movement, it can also be referred to as vibration. e.g loaded string, loaded test tube or an hinged door
Olatunji Reply
what property makes the magnet to break?
Akshaya Reply
difference between charge and force
uwadiae Reply
charges: these are groups of ions which can be positive or negative. while force is said to be push or pull of an object. Generally, charge deals with ions while force deals with particles.
akinmeji
define oscillation
Munachukwu
what is up thrust
Lila Reply
upward force exerted by water on a body.
Matthew
A hydrometer of mass 0.15kg and of uniform cross sectional area 0.0025m2 displaced in water of density 1000kg/m3.what depth will the hydrometer sink
Lila
archimedes principle
Nicholas
mg=p(area x height)g
Nicholas
solve for height
Nicholas
what is matter
daniel Reply
Anything that has mass. And it occupies space. So it has volume.
wenhe
stages of matter.
daniel
States of matter are solid liquid gas and plasma
wenhe
what are Newtown's law
Lila
An object as rest will remain at rest or in motion will remain at motion. Force is mass times acceleration. And a force will have equal and opposite reaction.
wenhe
do we have any thing like plasma as a states of matter
daniel
no
Nicholas
Plasma is a state of matter. It's much later on. The sun for example is not a gas ball. Its plasma.
wenhe
why is plasma a state of matter
Lila
In lower grades you are taught that there are 3 states of matter. But later on, you'll learn that if you eat gas enough. It turns to plasma
wenhe
Heat*
wenhe
yes we have plasma as a state of matter
akinmeji
it is anything that occupie space and has mass
Anand
I never head of that before
daniel
Anything that occupies space and has mass is matter.
wenhe
what is the difference between vapor and gas
Lila
Plasma is best described as an ionized gas because it is made up of positively and negatively charged particles.
akinmeji
Vapour is gas.
wenhe
Aside plasma, we also have Bose- Einstein. this is also another state of matter
akinmeji
was bose Einstein discovered by Albert Einstein
Lila
We have like 6 states or more. But those are newly discovered.
wenhe
OK, thanks at list I have experience about that one now.
daniel
Einstein​ predicted it
wenhe
With another person
wenhe
what are the other states
Lila
Fermionic condensate
wenhe
OK what is Albert Einstein
daniel
And maybe more. I just rmb those. Tbh for school you only need to know 4.
wenhe
Albert Einstein​is the name of a scientist
wenhe
OK
daniel
what is the physical state of water and salt
Lila
can I ask off topic question?
Kristine
Both are matter. So can theoretically exist in all those states. But in room temperature, water is liquid and salt is solid.
wenhe
Yes
wenhe
Its about precalculus
Kristine
I'm not very good at maths. But if I can answer... Lol
wenhe
The reflector of a radiotelescope is in the shape of a parabola revolve its axis, if the diameter of the reflector is 400ft. above the vertex of the parabola, what should be the depth of reflector?
Kristine
Are there any other factors given?
wenhe
Or just that?
wenhe
matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration
Vashist
Cuz with those factors, I can't solve it.
wenhe
none
Kristine
Well. There must be another factor given or something. Like an equation of the parabola. Or else I can't solve it
wenhe
explain why water and salt are compounds
Lila
That's chem. But both water and salt are made of more than 1 element. So they are compounds.
wenhe
Compound meaning 2 or more things added together.
wenhe
salt chemically is combination of sodium n chloride whereas water is oxygen n hydrogen
Friday
deficiency of vitamin E cause ?
Friday
I don't know if this is the equation or formula your looking for; (x-h)²=4c(y-k) (x-h)²=-4c(y-k) (y-k)²=-4c(x-h) (y-k)²=4c(x-h)
Kristine
If the parabola opens downward, the equation will be (x-h)²=-4c(y-k). If the parabola opens upward, (x-h)²=4c(y-k). If the parabola opens to the left it will be -4c and if the parabola opens to the right it will be 4c
Kristine
Practice Key Terms 2

Get the best College physics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask