Research Images As Art 2014/15 Gallery

Tapered Optical Fibre Rainbow

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Miss Ying Lia Li, Physics & Astronomy

A piece of optical fibre is heated and pulled until it is one micron in diameter (smaller than spider silk). This tapered segment is only slightly larger than the wavelength of visible light so it is able to significantly interact with the light. When a wave of light hits the taper, it gets scattered in many different ways; it may move around the fibre, or it gets reflected, or it sometimes moves through the fibre. One wave of light, which got delayed making its way through the fibre, combines with a wave was reflected, or mixes with light scattered from further along. The troughs and crests of these waves interfere and change the wavelength of light that reaches our eyes. Because the interference pattern isn't the same along the length of the taper, we see lots of different wavelengths, and lots of different colours.


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