Newton's rings is a phenomenon in which an interference pattern is created by the reflection of light between two surfaces; a spherical surface and an adjacent touching flat surface. It is named after Isaac Newton, who investigated the effect in 1666. When viewed with monochromatic light, Newton's rings appear as a series of concentric, alternating bright and dark rings centered at the point of contact between the two surfaces. When viewed with white light, it forms a concentric ring pattern of rainbow colors, because the different wavelengths of light interfere at different thicknesses of the air layer between the surfaces.
The phenomenon was first described by Robert Hooke in his 1665 book Micrographia . Its name derives from the mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who studied the phenomenon in 1666 while sequestered at home in Lincolnshire in the time of the Great Plague that had shut down Trinity College, Cambridge. He recorded his observations in an essay entitled "Of Colours". The phenomenon became a source of dispute between Newton, who favored a corpuscular nature of light, and Hooke, who favored a wave-like nature of light.Newton did not publish his analysis until after Hooke's death, as part of his treatise "Opticks" published in 1704.
The pattern is created by placing a very slightly convex curved glass on an optical flat glass. The two pieces of glass make contact only at the center. At other points there is a slight air gap between the two surfaces, increasing with radial distance from the center, as shown in Fig. 3.
Consider monochromatic (single color) light incident from the top that reflects from both the bottom surface of the top lens and the top surface of the optical flat below it.The light passes through the glass lens until it comes to the glass-air boundary, where the transmitted light goes from a higher refractive index (n) value to a lower n value. The transmitted light passes through this boundary with no phase change. The reflected light undergoing internal reflection (about 4% of the total) also has no phase change. The light that is transmitted into the air travels a distance, t, before it is reflected at the flat surface below. Reflection at the air-glass boundary causes a half-cycle (180°) phase shift because the air has a lower refractive index than the glass. The reflected light at the lower surface returns a distance of (again) t and passes back into the lens. The additional path length is equal to twice the gap between the surfaces. The two reflected rays will interfere according to the total phase change caused by the extra path length 2t and by the half-cycle phase change induced in reflection at the flat surface. When the distance 2t is exactly half a wavelength the waves interfere destructively, hence the central region of the pattern is dark, as shown in Fig. 2.
A similar analysis for illumination of the device from below instead of from above shows that in that case the central portion of the pattern is bright, not dark, as shown in Fig. 1. When the light is not monochromatic, the radial position of the fringe pattern has a "rainbow" appearance, as shown in Fig. 5.
(Fig. 4a): In areas where the path length difference between the two rays is equal to an odd multiple of half a wavelength (λ/2) of the light waves, the reflected waves will be in phase, so the "troughs" and "peaks" of the waves coincide. Therefore, the waves will reinforce (add) and the resulting reflected light intensity will be greater. As a result, a bright area will be observed there.
(Fig. 4b): At other locations, where the path length difference is equal to an even multiple of a half-wavelength, the reflected waves will be 180° out of phase, so a "trough" of one wave coincides with a "peak" of the other wave. Therefore, the waves will cancel (subtract) and the resulting light intensity will be weaker or zero. As a result, a dark area will be observed there. Because of the 180° phase reversal due to reflection of the bottom ray, the center where the two pieces touch is dark. This interference results in a pattern of bright and dark lines or bands called "interference fringes" being observed on the surface. These are similar to contour lines on maps, revealing differences in the thickness of the air gap. The gap between the surfaces is constant along a fringe. The path length difference between two adjacent bright or dark fringes is one wavelength λ of the light, so the difference in the gap between the surfaces is one-half wavelength. Since the wavelength of light is so small, this technique can measure very small departures from flatness. For example, the wavelength of red light is about 700 nm, so using red light the difference in height between two fringes is half that, or 350 nm, about 1/100 the diameter of a human hair. Since the gap between the glasses increases radially from the center, the interference fringes form concentric rings. For glass surfaces that are not spherical, the fringes will not be rings but will have other shapes.
For illumination from above, with a dark center, the radius of the Nth bright ring is given by
where N is the bright-ring number, R is the radius of curvature of the glass lens the light is passing through, and λ is the wavelength of the light. The above formula is also applicable for dark rings for the ring pattern obtained by transmitted light.
Given the radial distance of a bright ring, r, and a radius of curvature of the lens, R, the air gap between the glass surfaces, t, is given to a good approximation by
where the effect of viewing the pattern at an angle oblique to the incident rays is ignored.
The phenomenon of Newton's rings is explained on the same basis as thin-film interference, including effects such as "rainbows" seen in thin films of oil on water or in soap bubbles. The difference is that here the "thin film" is a thin layer of air.
Diffraction refers to various phenomena that occur when a wave encounters an obstacle or opening. It is defined as the bending of waves around the corners of an obstacle or through an aperture into the region of geometrical shadow of the obstacle/aperture. The diffracting object or aperture effectively becomes a secondary source of the propagating wave. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word diffraction and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1660.
In physics, interference is a phenomenon in which two waves superpose to form a resultant wave of greater, lower, or the same amplitude. Constructive and destructive interference result from the interaction of waves that are correlated or coherent with each other, either because they come from the same source or because they have the same or nearly the same frequency. Interference effects can be observed with all types of waves, for example, light, radio, acoustic, surface water waves, gravity waves, or matter waves. The resulting images or graphs are called interferograms.
Optics is the branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Because light is an electromagnetic wave, other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays, microwaves, and radio waves exhibit similar properties.
In optics, the refractive index of a material is a dimensionless number that describes how fast light travels through the material. It is defined as
Total internal reflection (TIR) is the optical phenomenon in which waves, such as light, are completely reflected under certain conditions when they arrive at the boundary between one medium and another, such as air and water. The phenomenon occurs when waves traveling in one medium, and incident at a sufficiently oblique angle against the interface with another medium having a higher wave speed, are not refracted into the second ("external") medium, but completely reflected back into the first ("internal") medium. For example, the water-to-air surface in a typical fish tank, when viewed obliquely from below, reflects the underwater scene like a mirror with no loss of brightness (Fig. 1).
In physics, the wavelength is the spatial period of a periodic wave—the distance over which the wave's shape repeats. It is the distance between consecutive corresponding points of the same phase on the wave, such as two adjacent crests, troughs, or zero crossings, and is a characteristic of both traveling waves and standing waves, as well as other spatial wave patterns. The inverse of the wavelength is called the spatial frequency. Wavelength is commonly designated by the Greek letter lambda (λ). The term wavelength is also sometimes applied to modulated waves, and to the sinusoidal envelopes of modulated waves or waves formed by interference of several sinusoids.
Interferometry is a technique in which waves are superimposed to cause the phenomenon of interference, which is used to extract information. Interferometry typically uses electromagnetic waves and is an important investigative technique in the fields of astronomy, fiber optics, engineering metrology, optical metrology, oceanography, seismology, spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, nuclear and particle physics, plasma physics, remote sensing, biomolecular interactions, surface profiling, microfluidics, mechanical stress/strain measurement, velocimetry, optometry, and making holograms.
In physics, the Mach–Zehnder interferometer is a device used to determine the relative phase shift variations between two collimated beams derived by splitting light from a single source. The interferometer has been used, among other things, to measure phase shifts between the two beams caused by a sample or a change in length of one of the paths. The apparatus is named after the physicists Ludwig Mach and Ludwig Zehnder; Zehnder's proposal in an 1891 article was refined by Mach in an 1892 article. Demonstrations of Mach-Zehnder interferometry with particles other than photons had been demonstrated as well in multiple experiments.
The Michelson interferometer is a common configuration for optical interferometry and was invented by Albert Abraham Michelson. Using a beam splitter, a light source is split into two arms. Each of those light beams is reflected back toward the beamsplitter which then combines their amplitudes using the superposition principle. The resulting interference pattern that is not directed back toward the source is typically directed to some type of photoelectric detector or camera. For different applications of the interferometer, the two light paths can be with different lengths or incorporate optical elements or even materials under test.
In optics, the Fraunhofer diffraction equation is used to model the diffraction of waves when the diffraction pattern is viewed at a long distance from the diffracting object, and also when it is viewed at the focal plane of an imaging lens. In contrast, the diffraction pattern created near the object is given by the Fresnel diffraction equation.
An antireflective or anti-reflection (AR) coating is a type of optical coating applied to the surface of lenses and other optical elements to reduce reflection. In typical imaging systems, this improves the efficiency since less light is lost due to reflection. In complex systems such as telescopes and microscopes the reduction in reflections also improves the contrast of the image by elimination of stray light. This is especially important in planetary astronomy. In other applications, the primary benefit is the elimination of the reflection itself, such as a coating on eyeglass lenses that makes the eyes of the wearer more visible to others, or a coating to reduce the glint from a covert viewer's binoculars or telescopic sight.
The shearing interferometer is an extremely simple means to observe interference and to use this phenomenon to test the collimation of light beams, especially from laser sources which have a coherence length which is usually significantly longer than the thickness of the shear plate so that the basic condition for interference is fulfilled.
An optical flat is an optical-grade piece of glass lapped and polished to be extremely flat on one or both sides, usually within a few tens of nanometres. They are used with a monochromatic light to determine the flatness of other surfaces, whether optical, metallic, ceramic, or otherwise, by interference. When an optical flat is placed on another surface and illuminated, the light waves reflect off both the bottom surface of the flat and the surface it is resting on. This causes a phenomenon similar to thin-film interference. The reflected waves interfere, creating a pattern of interference fringes visible as light and dark bands. The spacing between the fringes is smaller where the gap is changing more rapidly, indicating a departure from flatness in one of the two surfaces. This is comparable to the contour lines one would find on a map. A flat surface is indicated by a pattern of straight, parallel fringes with equal spacing, while other patterns indicate uneven surfaces. Two adjacent fringes indicate a difference in elevation of one-half wavelength of the light used, so by counting the fringes, differences in elevation of the surface can be measured to better than one micrometre.
X-ray optics is the branch of optics that manipulates X-rays instead of visible light. It deals with focusing and other ways of manipulating the X-ray beams for research techniques such as X-ray crystallography, X-ray fluorescence, small-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray microscopy, X-ray phase-contrast imaging, X-ray astronomy etc.
Lloyd's mirror is an optics experiment that was first described in 1834 by Humphrey Lloyd in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. Its original goal was to provide further evidence for the wave nature of light, beyond those provided by Thomas Young and Augustin-Jean Fresnel. In the experiment, light from a monochromatic slit source reflects from a glass surface at a small angle and appears to come from a virtual source as a result. The reflected light interferes with the direct light from the source, forming interference fringes. It is the optical wave analogue to a sea interferometer.
Interference reflection microscopy (IRM) is an optical microscopy technique that utilizes polarized light to form an image of an object on a glass surface. The intensity of the signal is a measure of proximity of the object to the glass surface. This technique can be used to study events at the cell membrane without the use of a (fluorescent) label in contrast to TIRF microscopy.
Thin-film interference is a natural phenomenon in which light waves reflected by the upper and lower boundaries of a thin film interfere with one another, either enhancing or reducing the reflected light. When the thickness of the film is an odd multiple of one quarter-wavelength of the light on it, the reflected waves from both surfaces interfere to cancel each other. Since the wave cannot be reflected, it is completely transmitted instead. When the thickness is a multiple of a half-wavelength of the light, the two reflected waves reinforce each other, increasing the reflection and reducing the transmission. Thus when white light, which consists of a range of wavelengths, is incident on the film, certain wavelengths (colors) are intensified while others are attenuated. Thin-film interference explains the multiple colors seen in light reflected from soap bubbles and oil films on water. It is also the mechanism behind the action of antireflection coatings used on glasses and camera lenses.
Young's interference experiment, also called Young's double-slit interferometer, was the original version of the modern double-slit experiment, performed at the beginning of the nineteenth century by Thomas Young. This experiment played a major role in the general acceptance of the wave theory of light. In Young's own judgement, this was the most important of his many achievements.
Quetelet rings are a type of optical interference pattern occurring at an illuminated reflective surface covered by fine particles, such as a dusty mirror. It is named after the astronomer Adolphe Quetelet, who observed the phenomenon and explained its formation. A slight variation of the setup is sometimes referred to as Newton's dusty mirror experiment, since Isaac Newton had already discovered the phenomenon by the end of 17th century, but did not interpret or explain it.
Optical Holography. is a technique which enables an optical wavefront to be recorded and later re-constructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating three-dimensional images but it also has a wide range of other applications
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Newton's rings .|