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Snells law and refraction
Refraction at a plane interface. Derivation of Snell's law. Experimental determination of refractive index. Examples.
Newton's prisms
Dispersing white light into component colours, then recombinging them.
Mirages and the Green Flash
Refraction from air with a thermally induced density gradient. Inferior mirages. 'Floating islands. The green flash.
Dispersion and chromatic aberration
The refractive index varies with wavelength, therefore so does the focal length of a simple lens, giving chromatic dispersion in the image.
Total internal reflection
No refraction if the angle of incidence exceeds the critical angle.
Optical fibres and cladding
Total internal reflection in an optical fiber. Adding cladding reduces pulse broadening.
Chromatic dispersion, rainbows and Alexander's dark band
Dispersion on refraction produces rainbows. One internal reflection gives the primary (40°) rainbow, two gives the secondary (50°) bow.
Colour of the sky
Scattering varies strongly with wavelength. Scattered light gives the blue of the sky, and the unscattered light gives the red or orange of a sunset.
Mirrors and images
Plane mirrors and virtual images. Inverted images. Real images in a concave mirror. Parabolic reflectors. Fermat's principle. Focusing with mirrors. Aberration. The mirror equation. Convex mirrors. Distortion.
Lenses and images
Focussing and forming images with lenses. How to draw ray diagrams. Relating object and image distance to focal length (theory and experiment).
Microscopes and magnifiers
The magnifier or simple microscope. The compound microscope and ray diagrams.
Reflecting Newtonian telescope
Parabolic reflector and the Newtonian or reflecting telescope.
Refracting telescope
Refracting telescope: two converging lenses produces a virtual, inverted image.
Acoustic telescope
Parabolic reflector for sound. Compare with Newtonian telescope. Wavelength limitations.

Geometrical Optics Experiments
Shadows, Reflection, Refraction, Lenses and mirrors


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