# Houston's piezoelectric method for finding the velocity of light

• Engineering
• Abhimessi10
In summary, Crystal acts as a diffraction grating and is similar to Fizeau's Wheel, a method used to measure the speed of light. In Houston's method, an electronic shutter made of quartz is used instead, by interrupting a light beam at a specific frequency. This is possible because quartz becomes a diffraction grating when driven with high frequency voltage, creating minute mechanical waves that can be adjusted to deflect light. This creates a light valve action, allowing for precise measurements of the light's time of travel.
Abhimessi10
Homework Statement
I am studying about the different experiments to find velocity of light.I can't get seem to get a grip over this method however.Also,I have searched many places about this but found next to nothing.Please see below images for reference.
Relevant Equations
c=2d/t
Crystal acts as a diffraction grating.Although I don't know what that means.

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I have not come across this method before, but it seems to be similar to Fizeau's Wheel. This is in many textbooks, and is a method of measuring the speed of light from a lamp to a distant mirror and back again. The beam is interrupted on its outgoing and return journeys by a rotating toothed wheel. If the light hits a tooth on its way back then there is darkness, and we then know the time delay of the light from the speed of rotation.
In Houston's method, it is using an electronic shutter to do the same task as Fizeau's Wheel. A piece of quartz is used as the shutter. When it is fed with a high frequency, it interrupts a light beam each cycle. The frequency is adjusted until darkness occurs, and the frequency being used then tells us the time of travel of the light.
Quartz works as a shutter because it becomes a diffraction grating when driven with high frequency voltage. A diffraction grating is usually a piece of glass with closely spaced fine lines ruled across it; the action is seen in everyday life with a CD. We usually see colours in a CD, because the fine lines deflect each colour differently. It will deflect monochrome light to just give a dot. Quartz exhibits the action of ruled lines because minute mechanical waves are created in it by the applied frequency. By using the quartz device, the spacing of the lines can be adjusted by altering the frequency of the applied voltage, so in effect a bright dot can be deflected to pass through a hole or not. This creates a light valve action.

Buzz Bloom

## 1. What is Houston's piezoelectric method for finding the velocity of light?

Houston's piezoelectric method is a scientific technique that uses the piezoelectric effect to measure the velocity of light. This method involves using a piezoelectric crystal, which generates an electric signal when it is subjected to mechanical stress, and timing how long it takes for this signal to travel a known distance.

## 2. How does the piezoelectric effect work?

The piezoelectric effect is a phenomenon where certain materials, such as crystals, produce an electric charge when they are subjected to mechanical stress. This occurs because the mechanical stress causes the atoms in the material to shift, creating an imbalance of positive and negative charges which results in an electric field.

## 3. What are the advantages of using Houston's piezoelectric method?

One of the main advantages of Houston's piezoelectric method is its high accuracy. It is also a relatively simple and cost-effective technique compared to other methods of measuring the velocity of light. Additionally, this method can be used in various environments, making it versatile for different experimental conditions.

## 4. Are there any limitations to Houston's piezoelectric method?

One limitation of Houston's piezoelectric method is that it requires specialized equipment and materials, such as piezoelectric crystals, which may not be readily available in all laboratories. Additionally, this method is sensitive to external factors, such as temperature and humidity, which can affect the accuracy of the results.

## 5. How does Houston's piezoelectric method compare to other methods of measuring the velocity of light?

Compared to other methods, such as the Fizeau method and the Michelson interferometer, Houston's piezoelectric method is more straightforward and can be performed with relatively simple equipment. However, it may not be as precise as other methods, and its accuracy can be affected by external factors. Ultimately, the choice of method may depend on the specific needs and resources of the experiment.

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