1. Diffraction Lab - Thanks to Joe Stieve for the original idea.
This image was taken by my father with an electron microscope with magnification of 1000x. It really gives the students an idea of what the CD surface looks like and why you get a diffraction pattern. CD_surface_x1000.jpg

2. Refraction - Test and book questions are an excellent source for labs. Even if they aren't lab-based questions a lot of them can be modified for a resonably equiped lab.

3. Index of Refraction - Experimentally find the index of refraction with linearized data. Another lab modified from a recent Exam.

4. Optics Notes: Here are more notes from W. Mullins. They are listed below. There are a few sections for which we must get ready. Geometrical optics (mirrors & lenses) and physical optics (interference patterns etc...). Wayne's (now somewhat old) notes can be accessed at

5. Mixing colors. This sketch shows the effect or RGB and CYM color mixing. The user can vary the amount of red, green and blue for light and the corresponding cyan, yellow and magenta for pigment. This requires Geometer's Sketchpad to run. From Dick Yoder-Short as user actionphysics.

6. Open-ended Lens Lab: Students determine the focal point of a lens in an open-ended experiment.

7. Lens invetigation: Students investigate properties of lenses. This lab is written based on research found in Teaching Introductory Physics, by Arnold Arons

8. Lens Combination lab: Similar to an old AP problem, changed to be an open-ended experiment dealing with two lenses in combination.

9. Ray Tracing Guided Discovery Lab. In this lab students use a laser ray box with lens cross sections to develop the ray tracing rules and discover the image properties for each case of object position. Then students use the optical bench and compare what they see to the ray tracing diagrams. Lens equation and magnification equations are introduced. Also a similar lab for mirrors (plane and spherical). From Lori Andersen

10. Modulated LED project: Students (or you) build a simple device in which audio signals are carried on a beam of light. Project uses Radio Shack parts. From Bill Taylor

11. Young's Equation Simulation: Based on an idea in TPT, this powerpoint contains a page to be printed on transparencies, and simple lab instructions for students to investigate Young's Equation. Also needed are foam boards and push pins. From Christopher Becke

12. Infrared Webcam: A document outlining my experience with modifying webcams to observe near IR radiation. Dan Burns

13. Thin Film Interference PPT

14. 20 Ray Diagrams

15. Seeing real images "in" concave mirrors There is some confusion about where images that we see "in" mirrors are actually located. When projected on a screen, the image location is obvious, but if you look towards a concave mirror and see an inverted image, the temptation is to see it behind the mirror. The following picture shows the parallax of a real image location of an object outside of the focal point in front of a concave mirror.
Concave Parallax.jpg