When we observe our wonderful environment we can witness countless types of phenomena, and it is important to express that one of these essential phenomena is that of light, and as it has been shown, through light we can visualize our surroundings because through the light rays the images that reach our eyes are transported, however, the vast majority of these phenomena that develop around us our natural optical systems (eyes) can not capture them because there is only a spectral portion of light that we can perceive and this light we have called white or visible light.
When light propagates from one side to the other, it usually encounters many obstacles on its way and this causes other types of phenomena such as reflection, refraction and dispersion, and we will be talking about the latter in this article in general, that spectral fraction that our eyes can perceive is composed of several colors and this is possible that we can visualize it when the beautiful phenomenon called chromatic dispersion or simply the decomposition of white or visible light into monochromatic colors develops.
Chromatic dispersion or light decomposition
On many occasions we can witness this phenomenon of the decomposition of white light and especially that which comes from our central star such as the Sun, without a doubt, the understanding of the nature of light throughout our history has generated great interest in the entire field of science and likewise to the essential field of education, since through this it has been possible to spread any type of learning provided by man through the implementation of the tool of science.
If we want to highlight a great historical character fascinated by the understanding of light, undoubtedly we have to refer to the great Sir Isaac Newton, and this historical character managed to create his own rainbow by implementing a glass prism, and for this he devised the ideal conditions as a space enclosed in total darkness and in this space only light passed through a small hole which got the light through a prism making such light rays are projected on a wall which was opposite to the emission of such rays of light, and this is where he could realize how the sunlight was made up of various colors, as we can see in the following figure 1.
Figure 1. Decomposition of light by means of a prism
In the previous figure 1, it could be observed how the white light from the sun was made up of several colors, however, Newton had two possibilities before such phenomenon, that is, it was possible that the prism was giving color to the light or simply that the sunlight was composed of several colors and that the prism was only able to decompose it.
In order to explain the above, I implement a second prism, and in addition, I place a screen with a small hole through which I managed to pass each decomposed color and when passing it now through the second prism, the monochromatic color (red) only changed its angle, but the color remained the same, as we can see in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Testing the decay of white light with a second prism
Now you can visualize some homemade images where we can witness the wonderful phenomenon of light, and for this we use materials such as a mirror, a container with water, plasticine, white paper, and of course, sunlight.
First, we fix our mirror inside the container at an approximate angle of 45° as shown in figure 3 below.
Now we place the water inside the container as shown in figure 4.
Then we place our container in front of the sunlight as shown in figure 5.
The container that will receive the sunlight is placed in front of a screen where the phenomenon of sunlight scattering is reflected as shown in figure 6.
In this way we can see the decomposition of sunlight and its representation in its different colors as shown in figure 7.
In this way what we managed to make was a water prism and that by using a mirror as a reflecting surface we were able to bring sunlight to our receiving screen and when passing through the volume of water and refract the white light we were able to decompose it as seen in the previous image. When white light is decomposed we can observe colors such as red, yellow, blue, green, light blue and violet.
There are essential phenomena of great interest to all mankind, and undoubtedly the phenomenon of light represents one of them, because through it we can observe everything around us, light is the transport of images to our natural screens such as the retinas of our essential ocular system.
In this opportunity we were able to know in a general way the wonderful phenomenon of the dispersion or decomposition of white or visible light, and with it, demonstrating that white light is a perfect mixture of various colors as those observed in a rainbow, for this we also rely on a small but significant practical experience, where we visualized the decomposition of sunlight into its constituent colors.
We continue to demonstrate that through the field of science we have been able to interpret our majestic universe, and furthermore, to radiate all this kind of learning through the field of education.
Until another opportunity, my dear readers, I hope to count on your excellent contributions and to consolidate the issue raised in this opportunity.
Note: I created the images in Power point and the animated gif was made using the PhotoScape application, the photographed images were taken with the camera of the ZTE phone.