Iona Physics Assignment: Dispersion

Light Dispersion through a Glass Prizm
Rock the prizm using the mouse and observe the behavior of the light.

This applet displays a prizm and two light beams (one going into the prizm and the other going out). The beam on the left is white, and the beam on the right is the white beam broken into the seven rainbow colors. You can rock the prizm by clicking on it, notice the effect that various angles of incident light have on the dispersion angles.

© Copyright 1997, Sergey Kiselev and Tanya Yanovsky-Kiselev
Last modified: June 20, 1997

The behavior shown in the diagram above is called dispersion. When light enters some substances (including glass) and changes speed, the different colors change speed by slightly different amounts. Since the amount of refraction depends upon the change in speed, and the different colors change speed by different amounts, then it follows that the different colors will be change direction by different amounts.
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