The Physics To Go website will be unavailable Friday evening through Saturday afternoon as electrical work occurs in the American Center of Physics server room. Down time will begin at 6PM Eastern Time on Friday. Service is expected to resume by 6PM on Saturday, July 30.

Hyperphysics: Polarization and Interference Colors Feature Summary

Type:
Physics in Your World
Title:
Polarization and Interference Colors
Description:
-- For this photo, the protractor was backlit, and the light passed through two crossed polarizers, one behind the protractor and one in front.
-- Stress within the protractor affects the phase of the polarized light, producing cancellation of some wavelengths and reinforcement of others, and the result is the pattern of colors that you see.
-- Materials like the clear plastic of the protractor are called birefringent. To learn more about them, see the Hyperphysics pages Polarization and Interference Colors and Birefringent Materials.
Image:
image credit: Wikimedia Commons; <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plastic_Protractor_Polarized_05375.jpg" target="_blank">image source</a>; <a href="http://www.physicstogo.org/images/features/protractor-pol-large-1-27-0.jpg" target="_blank">larger image</a>
image credit: Wikimedia Commons; image source; larger image
Image URL:
http://www.compadre.org/Informal/images/features/protractor-pol-large-1-27-0.jpg
Featured:
February 1, 2009 - February 16, 2009