Prism Definition and 25 Discussions

An optical prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least one surface must be angled — elements with two parallel surfaces are not prisms. The traditional geometrical shape of an optical prism is that of a triangular prism with a triangular base and rectangular sides, and in colloquial use "prism" usually refers to this type. Some types of optical prism are not in fact in the shape of geometric prisms. Prisms can be made from any material that is transparent to the wavelengths for which they are designed. Typical materials include glass, acrylic and fluorite.
A dispersive prism can be used to break white light up into its constituent spectral colors (the colors of the rainbow). Furthermore, prisms can be used to reflect light, or to split light into components with different polarizations.

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  1. Mr_Allod

    Approximating the Edge of a Lens as a Prism

    Hello there, for part a. of this problem I thought I should try to find the radius of curvature R of the lens using the Lensmaker's Formula. Then it would be quite easy to find the minimum thickness T by just finding the thickness of the circle segment using Pythagoras' Theorem. But part of...
  2. N

    Raman prism?

    I have been unable to find any material pertaining to Raman prism. Does such a thing even exist?
  3. B

    Jenkins-White Optics: Relation between Prism/Deviation Angle and Rays

    I've tried to attempt the first part of the problem(spent over an hour on this) as second part could be easily optained with some calculus ,I asked my friend but alas nobody could conjure the solution to this dangerous trigonometric spell. It was just pages and pages of concoction of...
  4. navneet9431

    B Can Prism form image?

    Do Prism form image? If they do form image, then what is the nature of the image formed?
  5. Dipra Irham

    Prism periscope

    a prism is supposed to scatter light rays and separate it into rainbow,then why in a prism periscope the prism send light rays to a particular direction instead of scattering?
  6. N

    Why is a prism called prism?

    Hello respected physics experts, I want to ask why prism is called prism. Can you explain please? Thanks.
  7. S

    How do I find refractive index uncertainties?

    I've been doing an experiment where I've used prisms and a spectrometer to find the exact angles inside the prisms and the refractive index of the prisms by finding the minimum angle of deviation. I have attached a picture of the formula I've been using to find the refractive indices. Where...
  8. K_Physics

    Relative Intensity of Various Light Sources - Lab Experiment

    Homework Statement I've linked my data table down below. My problem is the relative intensity column. From the table, the units of relative intensity are w/m/s. I'm assuming this is power/velocity, where velocity is the speed of light. However, nowhere in the lab manual did it mention the...
  9. A

    Directing sunlight into the optical fiber

    Hello Is it possible to direct sunlight into the optical fiber by magnifying glass and a prism like the image below? if yes , what shape of prism should i use to do this? Thank you
  10. G

    Lens engineering for virtual reality

    What type of lens/prism would be needed to allow a image sensor to see 180 degrees, so the sensor could see a hemisphere. It doesn't matter if the input is distorted. I thought that a glass pyramid with a square base might work.
  11. C

    I Minimum deviation in prism spectroscope

    Suppose that I use a prism (vertex angle ##\alpha##) spectroscope to analyze a beam of visible light from a mercury lamp (different wavelenghts) and I want the determine the refraction index of the prism using the minmum deviation angles ##D_{min}##...
  12. Tspirit

    I A question on dispersion of Prism

    As the Figure shown, a white light beam is dispersed by the prism. The refracted beams will have different directions. My question is, will their reverse extension lines intersect into one point, or not? If it will, where is the point? And the proof? Thanks a lot.
  13. S

    Optics Question: Prisms

    Homework Statement The two rays shown below, a and b, have different wavelengths. They travel through the glass prism as shown; 1) is this possible? 2) If this is possible, which has the longer wavelength, ray a or ray b? [see attached figure] Homework Equations λ = λi/n critical angle =...
  14. S

    Applying Snell's Law Inside & Outside a Prism

    Homework Statement I'm having trouble / uncertainties about the third missing angle (from left to right) in the picture. The first angle of reflection was easy as it's just 34 degrees aswell and I used snell's law rearranged to find the first angle of refraction as 13.36 degrees from the...
  15. EthanC

    I Parametrisation of triangular prism

    Hi, I am having difficulty trying to parameterize triangular prism formed by the planes: x =0, y=0, z=0, z=1 and x+y=1. I have tried a couple different ways to get the five surfaces in separate parameterisations using the r(u,v)=i +j+k basis. I just need a push in the right direction but am...
  16. O

    Angle Spread with Snell's Law

    Homework Statement Dispersion in a window pane. In Figure (a) below , a beam of white light is incident at angle θ1 = 67o on a common window pane (shown in cross section). For the pane's type of glass, the index of refraction for visible light ranges from 1.535 at the blue end of the spectrum...
  17. J

    Angle of Refraction through a Prism

    Hello everyone, I am trying to figure out how to explain an aspect of this question to my students, but cannot seem to recall the geometry that explains the textbook's approach. In the figure below, for part (b) of the question, we are using the angles of refraction at the left boundary to...
  18. arthurmani

    Why is diffused light captured through V-shaped grooves?

    Hello, we routed V-shaped grooves in an acrylic panel using a CNC milling machine and placed the panel in front of my window, with no direct light hitting it. The pictures below show two cases, in the top picture, the grooves are facing the window and on the bottom one the grooves are facing...
  19. Roodles01

    Dichromatic(?) prisms

    I found what was called a "dichromatic prism" on ebay and bought it. It is a cube and although described as "not perfect" it splits light extremely well and is quite a cool object to show those in my staff room. I understand that dichroic is different but not sure how. Question is, how does it...
  20. norlesh

    Would a flattened (sheet glass) dispersion prism work?

    Could a thin sheet of glass with appropriate edge angles work as a dispersion prism? If the prism were laying flat my thoughts are the light should be contained via TIR in a plane that would remain perpendicular to the top and bottom while said plane dispersed horizontally according to...
  21. T

    Questions about rainbows

    I'm interested in rainbows. I'm talking about good old fashioned arc/halo rainbows like those you see in the sky. Sometimes you see rainbows from lawn sprinklers. How small would the smallest rainbow arc conceivably possible to view be? Could I make a rainbow at night using a sprinkler with a...
  22. J

    Prism -- brightness of a ray of white light as it passes through a prism?

    What happens to the brightness of a ray of white light as it passes through a prism?
  23. Dan LaSota

    Vendor for Flint Glass Block or Prism

    Hi, I'm trying to put together materials to demonstrate the Faraday Effect. I need to locate the supplier of some flint glass (glass with lead oxide or similar materials increasing the Verdet constant), that I could use in my lab. I had found this from Mansion Schools...
  24. C

    Creating a Laser Point Cloud

    Hey all, I'm hoping this is in the right section. Basically I'm interested in creating a laser point cloud, but can't think of the best shape to do it. E.G. shining a laser straight down through a median and having the light scattered into a lot more points. I'd than have a receiver to read...
  25. gauss44

    Why does or doesn't a rainbow form?

    When light enters some pieces of glass from the air, such as a magnifying glass or window, rainbows usually don't form. But when light enters a prism, rainbows form. Why do rainbows form in the prism, but not in the magnifying glass or window? (This is my own personal curiosity and because I...