Physics
General Knowledge

Dispersion of Light

Dispersion of Light

When a ray of white light (or a composite light) is passed through a prism, it gets spirited into its constituent colours. This phenomenon is called dispersion of light. The colored pattern obtained on a screen after dispersion of light is called spectrum.
»   The dispersion of light is due to different deviation suffered by different colours of light. The deviation is maximum for violet colour and minimum for red colour of light. The different colours appeared in the spectrum are on the following order, violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. (VIBGYOR)
»   The dispersion of light is due to different velocities of light of different colours in a medium. As a result, the refractive index of a medium is different for different colours of light.
»   The velocity of light in a medium is maximum for that colour for which refractive index is minimum. Clearly, the velocity of violet colour of light is minimum in a medium and retroactive index of that medium is maximum for violet colour. Similarly, the velocity of light in a medium is maximum for red colour and refractive index of that medium is minimum for red colour.

Rainbow

Rainbow is the coloured display in the form of an arc of a circle hanging in the sky observed during or after a little drizzle appearing on the opposite side of sun. Rainbow is formed due to dispersion and refraction of sun light by the suspended water droplets.

Rainbow is of two types :
1. Primary rainbow
Primary rainbow is formed due to two refractions and one total internal reflection of light falling on the raindrops. In the primary rainbow, the red colour is on the convex side and violet on the concave side. Primary rainbow has an angular width of 2° at an average angle of elevation of 41°.

2. Secondary rainbow
Secondary rainbow is formed due to two refractions and two internal reflections of light falling on rain drops. The order of colour on the secondary rainbow is in the reverse order and has an angular width of 3.5° at an average elevation of 52.75°. Secondary rainbow is less intense than primary rainbow.

Scattering of light

When light waves fall on small bodies such as dust particles, water particles in suspension, suspended particles in colloidal solution, they are thrown out in all directions. This phenomenon is called scattering of light.
Scattering of light is maximum in case of violet colour and minimum in case of red colour of light.
» Blue colour of sky is due to scattering of light.
» The brilliant red colour of rising and setting sun is due to scattering of light.

Interference of light

When two light waves of exactly the same frequency and a constant phase difference travel in same direction and superimpose then the resultant intensity in the region of superposition is different from the sum of intensity of individual waves. This modification in the intensity of light in the region of superposition is called interference of light.
Interference is of two types
1. Constructive interference
2. Destructive interference

1. Constructive interference
At some points, where the two waves meet is same phase, resultant intensity is maximum. Such interference is called constructive interference.

2. Destructive interference:
At some points, where the two waves meet in opposite phase, resultant intensity is minimum. Such interference is called destructive interference.

Diffraction of light

When light waves fall on a small sized obstacle or a small aperture whose dimension is comparable to the wavelength of light, then there is a depart from the rectilinear propagation and light energy flavours out into the region of geometrical shadow. The spreading of light energy beyond the limit prescribed by rectilinear propagation of light is called diffraction of light. In other words, diffraction is the process by which a beam of light or other systems of wave is spread out as a result of passing through a narrow opening or across an edge.

Polarisation of light

Polarisation is the only phenomenon which proves that light is a transverse wave. Light is an electromagnetic wave in which electric and magnetic field vectors vibrate perpendicular to each other and also perpendicular to the direction of propagation. In ordinary light, the vibrations of electric field vector are in every plane perpendicular to the direction of propagation of wave, polarisation is the phenomenon of restricting the vibrations of a light in a particular direction in a plane perpendicular to the direction of propagation of wave.
» The visible effect of light is only due to electric field vector.