# Thin Film Interference Effects

###### Thin Film Interference Effects
Interference II: Thin Films Physics 2415 Lecture 36 Michael Fowler, UVa Today’s Topics • Colors of thin films • Michelson’s interferometer • The Michelson Morley experiment Thin Film Interference Effects • The colors seen in soap bubbles arise from interference between the reflected light from the two surfaces, which are separated by a distance of order the wavelength of visible light (500nm). Thin Film Interference • We’ll consider the simplest • . case of light of wavelength  incident at almost 90° to the film. • The path length difference is air then 2d, remember the wavelength in water is /n, d water so the path length phase air difference is 4nd/. • But there’s another factor… Reminder: flashlet Pulse Transmission and Reflection • If a wave pulse traveling in a high speed medium (light string) encounters a boundary to a low speed medium (heavy string) the pulse is partially transmitted, and part is reflected with opposite sign: Pulse Transmission and Reflection • If a wave pulse traveling in a low speed medium (heavy string) encounters a boundary to a high speed medium (light string) the pulse is partially transmitted, and part is reflected with the same sign: Harmonic Wave Reflection at a Boundary: • Think of a harmonic wave as a series of crests and troughs: • On encountering a boundary to a low speed medium (higher refractive index) the reflected crest will be a trough: a phase change of 180°. • On encountering a boundary to a higher speed medium, the reflected crest will still be a crest, no phase change. Thin Film Interference • The path length phase difference • . is 4nd/. • But the light reflected at the first airwater interface is phase shifted 180°, that reflected at the second is not phase shifted, so the actual phase difference air between the two paths is d water (4nd/ + 1). • A soap film much thinner than  air will look black Notice this means the (small) fraction reflected is the same at both surfaces. A Thin Film of Air… is easy to make—two parallel • . sheets of glass separated by, say, 500nm, will work. • Light coming down to the air glass film from above will be air reflected at both surfaces, and the analysis is exactly as glass above, using now the wavelength in air, and noting that, as before, only one of the reflections is phase shifted 180°. Oil on Water • Typical oils have a refractive index 1.5, greater than water (1.33). • Different colors appear at different angles because the path length difference between rays reflected from the top and bottom surfaces depends on angle. Newton’s Rings • . • If a plano convex lens is held firmly against a flat piece of glass and illuminated from above, the thin film of air between the two varies smoothly in thickness from zero at the center, reflected monochromatic light will show a series of light and dark rings as the two reflections successively augment and cancel. Newton’s Rings • How do we find the thickness • . t of the air between the lens and the mirror at B, a distance r from the central point A C • The curved lens surface is part of a sphere, radius R, centered at C, so CA has length R, CB length R + t and AB has length r. A B • CAB is a rightangled triangle: r 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 R r R t R 2Rt t , so r 2Rt t 2Rt  Nonreflective Coating • A layer of material having refractive index ideally the square root of the lens’ own, and thickness /4, will eliminate reflection at that wavelength. • Notice that light at the violet end of the spectrum is still reflected. /4 thickness coating, best n = 1.23 • Moths’ eyes have a Lens n = 1.52 nonreflective coating. Michelson Interferometer • A narrow beam of light is mirror split in two by a half silvered mirror as shown, the two halves are reflected back by two source mirror different mirrors, they halfsilvered mirror partially pass through the half silvered mirror to be detector recombined and then detected. Michelson Interferometer • The two beams entering the • . mirror detector will interfere constructively or destructively depending on the difference in path lengths. • A series of light and dark bands source mirror (fringes) are observed in the halfsilvered detector. mirror • Moving one mirror one quarter of a wavelength exchanges the dark detector and light fringes. • Small distances can be measured by counting fringe shifts as the mirror is moved.
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