Interesting Optics Measurements?

In summary, the student wants to investigate sound waves by utilizing an apparatus similar to the Michelson interferometer and analyzing the diffraction pattern.
  • #1
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So I'm really interested in the field of wave optics, and luckily for my undergraduate program, we get to do a measurement project on any area of our choosing. I was looking up topics and there are some interesting ones such as the luminous fountain where they use the idea of fiber optics to illuminate a stream of water. I'm sort of thinking about incorporating some interference of magnetic fields or sound waves, perhaps even duplicating an apparatus such as the Michelson interferometer. But right now all I have is just a jumble of ideas and no direction. I need to actually perform an experiment that will give me quantitative results that can be statistically analyzed and then interpreted for any practical implications.

Any ideas for possible measurements I can make?
 
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  • #2
Microwave interferometer is a fairly good hands-on experiment you can do, provided you can find a safe microwave source and a descent detector. For the source, one usually uses a magnetron from microwave, but set to a much lower power level. For a detector, they have some microwave leak detectors you could buy. Your university might have either or both of these things already set up.

Anyways, from there, you just set up a Michelson interferometer, but using wire meshes for mirrors. A mesh with cell size comparable to the wavelength would let a portion of radiation through and reflect the rest, working like a splitter mirror in optical interferometer. A mesh with much smaller mesh size would work as an ordinary mirror.

The upshot here is that you are dealing with wavelengths that are about a decimeter rather than half a micron. This means that "mirror" positioning can be done entirely by hand, instead of having to rely on precise micrometers.
 
  • #3
hy23 said:
So I'm really interested in the field of wave optics, and luckily for my undergraduate program, we get to do a measurement project on any area of our choosing. I was looking up topics and there are some interesting ones such as the luminous fountain where they use the idea of fiber optics to illuminate a stream of water. I'm sort of thinking about incorporating some interference of magnetic fields or sound waves, perhaps even duplicating an apparatus such as the Michelson interferometer. But right now all I have is just a jumble of ideas and no direction. I need to actually perform an experiment that will give me quantitative results that can be statistically analyzed and then interpreted for any practical implications.

Any ideas for possible measurements I can make?

I've seen a great project measuring the track spacings on CDs and DVDs using diffraction. More ambitious would be setting up an interferometer to measure the thickness of a thin film- for example, the shape of a drop of fluid.

It depends on the type of instrumentation you have access to, and your level of expertise in constructing optical instruments.
 
  • #4
nice ideas guys, well I have finally decided on my idea, what I'm not sure about is if it's doable

So here it is: I want to investigate sound waves by utilizing an apparatus similar to the Michelson interferometer and analyzing the diffraction pattern. So I will have a tank of water with underwater speakers producing sound waves in the tank. I will then have a laser outside the tank directed towards the tank, the laser light will encounter a beam splitter before reaching the tank, one beam goes thru the tank (and interfere with sound waves) the other beam goes around the tank (reflected around by mirrors), the two beams rejoin on the other side of the tank and interfere and hits a screen and produces some sort of pattern. I'm hoping that by interpreting this pattern, it will tell me something about the sound wave that caused any disturbance in the first beam.

Is this reasonable? Please feel free to criticize.
 
  • #5
Sounds somewhat reasonable- very similar to solid state acousto-optical devices. Those work with ultrasound frequencies and standing waves, so it may be helpful to do some analysis before construction begins, or you may not see anything.

Edit- just to make sure, you said "similar to the Michelson interferometer and analyzing the diffraction pattern."- do you mean analyzing the *interference* pattern? Or do you want to construct an acousto-optic deflector- those diffract the beam?
 
  • #6
yes not seeing anything is what I'm worried about, cause I'm not sure if any interference that sound may have on the light can actually be detected without the aid of expensive stuff, I also don't know much about interference and optics (actually I don't know much about anything haha ) but I like a challenge

and I guess i meant the interference pattern cause there wouldn't be a diffraction pattern in what I have just described

btw I looked up solid state acousto optical devices, looks like complicated stuff, how do they work?
 
  • #7
Pretty much like how you described your water tank: For deflectors, standing (sound) waves are set up in a crystal (usually Tellurium dioxide or Lithium Niobate), which, due to the spatial variation in density creates a spatially varying refractive index. This then acts as a diffraction grating.

I've used devices made by IntraAaction:

http://www.intraaction.com/index.html
 

1. What is the purpose of interesting optics measurements?

Interesting optics measurements are used to study the behavior of light and the properties of optical materials. This information is important in fields such as physics, engineering, and medicine.

2. What are some examples of interesting optics measurements?

Some examples of interesting optics measurements include refraction, reflection, diffraction, and polarization. These measurements can be used to determine the speed of light, the index of refraction of a material, and the shape and size of objects.

3. How are interesting optics measurements performed?

Interesting optics measurements are typically performed using specialized equipment such as lasers, lenses, prisms, and detectors. These instruments allow scientists to manipulate and measure the properties of light in a controlled environment.

4. What are the applications of interesting optics measurements?

Interesting optics measurements have a wide range of applications, including the development of new optical devices and technologies, such as cameras, telescopes, and microscopes. They are also used in medical imaging, telecommunications, and environmental monitoring.

5. What are some challenges in conducting interesting optics measurements?

One of the main challenges in conducting interesting optics measurements is controlling and minimizing sources of error, such as environmental factors and the limitations of equipment. Additionally, the properties of light can be difficult to measure accurately due to its dual nature as both a wave and a particle.

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