Links to optics-related applets, tutorials and web sites of interest.

NOTE: Some applets no longer work with the most recent Java. If possible, try running on an earlier version. In some cases, I've found alternate applets that are similar and that will run on most browsers (I use Chrome, Safari and Firefox).

If you find a link that doesn't work, please email me. If you find a link that should be here, let me know that as well. This list was last updated 1/09.

General Optics Tutorials and Classroom Demonstrations

Absorption and Emission of Light

Introduction to Waves and Wave Behavior

Electromagnetic Waves and Wave Properties of Light


Lens and mirror tutorials and applets

Laser and Laser Safety

Applications of Optics in Communications (Fiber Optics), Manufacturing, Medicine (including the eye) and More

Atmospheric Optics - Rainbows, Sundogs, More

Sites with lists of optics links (like this one)

Optics Education, Projects and Career Related Links

Societies, Organizations and Online Magazines

A few more really neat physics related sites



GENERAL OPTICS TUTORIALS This site contains a huge collection of tutorials and applets covering most of an introductory optics course. This is a good "first stop" on a web tour of optics. Some excerpts from this site are in the listing below. This is an optics tutorial for chemistry students. Definition of many terms included. optics tutorial with an ophthalmic slant, including how corrective lenses work NIST document on the system of measurement for radiometry, photometry and pyrometry Basic overview of geometric optics, including telescopes, microscopes and cameras written by a retired high school teacher A lab manual using helium-neon lasers

CLASSROOM DEMONSTRATIONS great classroom demonstrations, including the "floating talking head" The Arbor Scientific "Cool Stuff" newsletter has quick and easy demos, many of optical effects



ABSORPTION AND EMISSION OF LIGHT shows wavelength dependence on energy level change emission from a Bohr atom shows the difference between "orbits" and electron probability clouds. The applet may not work on all computers? black body radiation curve. change the temperature and view the curve and color. Bohr atom, hydrogen energy levels and the hydrogen spectrum, including "complications" such as the Lamb shift and hyperfine structure



INTRODUCTION TO WAVES and WAVE BEHAVIOR wave characteristics: amplitude, wavelength, phase wave characteristics- frequency and phase applet illustrating addition of waves draw waves and let them interfere (may need Shockwave plug in) animations of wave reflection from boundaries Control a moving source as it emits waves and explore the Doppler effect The same type of demo as the Dopper applet above- but the source is a police care siren. I especially like the police car speeding along in reverse!



ELECTROMAGETIC WAVES electromagnetic wave animation play with an electromagnetic wave, and see it from several angles Change the frequency and see what happens to the wavelength

WAVE PROPERTIES OF LIGHT Spatial coherence. Click on the Young's double slit applet. Use a single point source, two point sources or an extended light source and see how the fringe pattern contrast changes as the spatial coherence of the source changes. Young's two slit experiment applet Change the number of slits, width, separation and two different wavelengths  excellent Michelson interferometer applet with gas cell for measuring index of refraction  Double slit with single slit envelope. Links below applet allow double slit and single slit to be examined separately Vary the angles of 1 to 3 polarizers Polarization components with adjustable phase between x and y. Good demonstration of circular polarization. Adjust x and y amplitude and phase to vary the polarization state Wave reflection from fixed and free ends Fantastic applet- light reflection from the film surfaces is seen in slow motion so change of phase on reflection and path length difference can be observed. Thin film applet, illustrating AR coatings (may need Shockwave plug in) An "intuitive" explanation of the optical Fourier transform




REFLECTION/REFRACTION This applet lets you observe total internal reflection) Reflection and refraction by Huygen's principle Reflection and refraction by Fermat's principle  Shows the change of wavelength in the second medium What your pet fish sees looking out of the tank This applet lets you observe total internal reflection, as well as observe Snell's law Total internal reflection- a flashlight at the bottom of a lake. The "Snell Game"- shoot a target through a refracting medium

(For applets on rainbows see the "atmospheric optics" category.)




LENS AND MIRROR TUTORIALS AND APPLETS This is my own really, really large version of the Davidson U (Physlet) optics bench applet. Seems to work only on older browsers version works as of 12/12 I wondered how my students did those front vertex, back vertex and equivalent power calculations so quickly! For two lenses or one thick lens. an overview of lens design from an industry source Thick lens Java applet. Change from "thin" to "thick" lens and watch rays traverse the lens Here's an applet for a "thick" lens that illustrates spherical aberration. Note that the amount of aberration depends on the orientation of the lens. "Right" and "wrong" ways to insert a plano convex lens into a system to reduce spherical aberration



LASER TUTORIALS AND APPLETS The "Laser Adventure " by Rami Arieli. A complete laser tutorial with many applets and examples. Not a tutorial, but a student lab report with excellent photos of TEM modes. Everything from stimulated emission and cavity modes to modelocked lasers and how a cd works. Sam's laser FAQ- everything you could ask about all kinds of lasers, including how to build them in your "home lab" Very flashy and colorful online laser exhibit with physics and applications from TheTech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA Information on CO2 laser optic materials and design "laser helpers"- formulas and graphs to illustrate common laser application issues

LASER SAFETY Excellent laser safety tutorial from Vanderbilt University UNC laser safety tutorial The Laser Institute of America - publications and training Rockwell Laser Industries, laser safety consultants. Includes a data base of laser accidents and a forum for discussing laser safety issues Eye safety, including terms and OSHA regulations




FIBER OPTICS/LIGHTWAVE COMMUNICATIONS "Australian Photonics CRC and Sydney VisLab maintain this information server to provide easily-accessible, up-to-date information for senior high school students." "Anatomy of an International Phone Call" - includes fiber, networks, components as you follow the path of a long distance phone call Corning Optical Fiber Discovery Center "Fiber 101" Lennie Lightwave's Guide to Fiber- a technicians guide to fiber theory, test and installation Operating temperatures for fiber optic devices

MORE OPTICS APPLICATIONS A study guide for kids about the human eye - parts of the eye, problems of the eye, glasses for vision correction, learning eye safety to prevent injury, and a list of additional links Check out the great links at the bottom of this page for more information on the structure and workings of the eye The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). At the bottom left of the page is a link to a terrific video describing the search for graviationals waves what the numbers in an eyeglass prescription mean The SOHO (Solar & Heliospheric Observatory) project- beautiful solar images, good spectroscopy application Photos and examples of laser micro-machining A complete course on laser materials processing. A tutorial on holographic data storage A resource for making holograms, including laser pointer holography and making holograms from photographs Tutorials and articles about holography, plus an online store for plates and chemicals.




ATMOSPHERIC OPTICS Formation of a rainbow- applet on refraction by a spherical water droplet A page about the green flash (atmospheric, not superhero) Beautiful photos and explanations of atmospheric optical phenomena Photos of weather (lots of lightning), ice and frost, astronomy and more, as well as atmospheric optics. Digital images of the sky- and everything that's in it.




SITES WITH LISTS OF OPTICS LINKS Photonics tools- Comprehensive list of optics education resources including societies, companies, applets, etc Many applets on advanced topics (click on items at the left of the page) American Physical Society compendium of optics, waves and sound links- very complete list of all the Java applets available at the FSU microscopy site huge list of links to optics and laser tutorials and applets This is a set of applets to accompany a physics II course at the University of Florida




OPTICS EDUCATION WEB SITES, PROJECTS and CAREER INFORMATION The PHOTON projects, professional development in optics/photonics; curriculum materials for teaching Fantastic site with resources for students and teachers- including an "ask an expert" feature NSF supported Project Lite, with information on color and perception and spectroscopy A treasury of applets and quicktime movies. Wonderful downloadable applets from the University of Barcelona Java optics course in physical optics FAQs on optics/photonics as a career from Queensborough Community College Worldwide directory of optics education programs



SOCIETIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND ONLINE MAGAZINES SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering the Optical Society of America Directed Energy Professional Society. Directed Energy (DE) technology for national defense and civil applications. Includes company and employment links. International Commission for Optics The New England Fiber Optic Council Lauren publishers monthly magazine Photonics Spectra, with links to a manufacturer directory and dictionary of terms Online optics resources, news, events, jobs. Sign up for email optics news headlines.

Photonics News Updates - Pennwell Press monthly magazine Laser Focus World



A FEW REALLY COOL PHYSICS SITES Not entirely optics, but a beautiful site devoted to snow crystals Cool cosmos- fantastic IR photos of everyday items, plus other educational resources from the Spitzer telescope site. Four Richard Feynman lectures in streaming video format San Francisco Exporatorium- Iron Science Teacher. Archives of past battles pitting science teacher against science teacher Space-related news, lots of interesting (and some weird) articles and photos from NASA archives a collection of Physics2000 applets, without the explanatory text. Some of these applets have not yet been incorporated into the site. Collection includes several technology applets (nodes in a microwave oven, television tubes, etc) High Energy Groovy Movie: x-ray astronomy as you've never seen- or heard- it. This is a large file that takes a while to download. Includes lesson plan. short videos to answer important questions about spaceflight (like how do you go to the bathroom in a space suit?) Trebuchet, the sport of engineers. Can you make the high score list? Not physics, entirely, but a complete online textbook, The Joy of Visual Perception Astronomy set to a capella music