Links to optics-related applets, tutorials and web sites of interest.
When I started this list there wasn't much available. Now many more people are aware of optics/photonics and the resources have grown considerably. Since 1996, when this site began, Java applets have fallen out of favor and many more YouTube videos are available. These are some of the sites I found useful in my teaching days that still seem to work.

Updated 3/2016. Java applets run with Firefox, not tested on other browsers where Java may not be supported (e.g., Chrome). You may need to change permissions to run applets.

General Optics Tutorials and Classroom Demonstrations

Absorption and Emission of Light

Introduction to Waves and Wave Behavior

Electromagnetic Waves and Wave Properties of Light

Reflection/Refraction

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

Optics Education, Projects and Career Related Links

Societies, Organizations and Online Magazines

A few more really neat physics related sites

THE PHOTON PROJECTS OF THE NEW ENGLAND BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION

THE PBL (PROBLEM BASED LEARNING) PROJECTS OF THE NEW ENGLAND BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION

LIGHT, INTRODUCTION TO OPTICS AND PHOTONICS (algebra/trig-based textbook)

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT (2015)

GENERAL OPTICS TUTORIALS AND EDUCATION SITES

http://photonicswiki.org/index.php?title=Main_Page Photonics WIKI, by U WA Clean Energy Institute. Includes hands on activities.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/optics/index.html 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.

http://optics.synopsys.com/learn/learn-optics-kids.htmlOptics for Kids from Synopsys

http://photonicswiki.org/index.php?title=Main_Page Photonics WIKI

http://www.photonics.com/EDU/ Dictionary of terms, videos and white papers

http://www.opticsforkids.org/ Fantastic site with resources for students and teachers- including an "ask an expert" feature

http://www.opticseducation.org/ Worldwide directory of optics education programs

CLASSROOM DEMONSTRATIONS

http://www.lasertechonline.org/Dumpster_Optics.html Dumpster Optics, teaching and learning optics with junk (or at least with very inexpensive supplies)

http://www.osa.org/en-us/media_library/search/?param=nebhe The NEBHE Exploration in Optics Videos, in the OSA Video Media Library. Registration is required but for demographic use only. Printed instructions are available with each video (All but two of the videos are also on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeR_RPlkZ3BmDsbH1UFAfag

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPl24WShNGz0nfV1Wfi5UU_o6BpakkoPD All the labs in the PHOTON projects collection, performed in one take by yours truly and colleagues

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demobook/chapter6.htm great classroom demonstrations, including the "floating talking head"

http://www.arborsci.com/CoolStuff/Archives.htm The Arbor Scientific "Cool Stuff" newsletter has quick and easy demos, many of optical effects

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ABSORPTION AND EMISSION OF LIGHT

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/quantumzone/ This quantum mechanics for kids site was a go-to resource. Still interesting, but the applets most likely won't work.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hyde.html excellent linked encyclopedia of physics. This link covers Bohr atom, hydrogen energy levels and the hydrogen spectrum, including "complications" such as the Lamb shift and hyperfine structure

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INTRODUCTION TO WAVES and WAVE BEHAVIOR

http://lectureonline.cl.msu.edu/~mmp/applist/doppler/d.htm Animation allows you to control a moving source as it emits waves and explore the Doppler effect

http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/feschools/waves/diffract.php#diffraction Wave diffraction with simulations

http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/waves-sound/oscillations/index.html An entire course, with animations, on vibrations and waves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o48J4streE Thirteen Rouen ducks create coherent waves. Illustrates smoothing of wave front far from the source of the randomly generated waves.

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WAVE PROPERTIES OF LIGHT

http://www.walter-fendt.de/html5/phen/electromagneticwave_en.htm electromagnetic wave animation. Walter Fendt has many fine animations and applets, in many languages.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/electromagnetic/index.html applet: play with an electromagnetic wave, and see it from several angles

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/wavebasics/index.html applet: Change the frequency and see what happens to the wavelength

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/mulslid.html Single, double and multiple slit diffraction

http://polarization.com Lots of fun facts about polarization, plus a link to a store that stocks inexpensive polarizing film

http://lectureonline.cl.msu.edu/~mmp/kap24/polarizers/Polarizer.htm Vary the angles of 1 to 3 polarizers and see how much light passes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0qrU4nprB0 Animation showing linear, circular and elliptical polarization

http://www.amanogawa.com/archive/Polarization/Polarization-2.html Java applet allows user to change the phase angle to produce linear, circular or elliptical polarization. Gives a very clear picture of how the polarization state is related to amplitude and phase.

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REFLECTION/REFRACTION

http://www.walter-fendt.de/html5/phen/refractionhuygens_en.htmReflection and refraction by Huygen's principle

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/optics/lr.cfm Tutorial on reflection with animation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdcHCRF00jM Refraction video with critical angle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjEm45jlFrI Jello optics video

http://www.walter-fendt.de/html5/phen/refraction_en.htm Snell's law

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LENS AND MIRROR TUTORIALS AND APPLETS

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/physlet_resources/dav_optics/examples/optics_bench.html Applet: This is a very handy optical bench simuation, good for trying out a lab before actually setting up the pieces. It may available elsewhere on the web in a larger size.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/HFrame.html I wondered how my students did those front vertex, back vertex and equivalent power calculations so quickly- they used this web site! For two lenses or one thick lens.

http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/java/thickLens/thickLens.html Applet: Change from "thin" to "thick" lens and watch rays traverse the lens

http://phys23p.sl.psu.edu/phys_anim/optics/indexer_optics.html Animations of lens aberrations (and other topics)

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LASER TUTORIALS AND APPLETS

https://perg.phys.ksu.edu/vqm/laserweb/ The "Laser Adventure " by Rami Arieli. A complete laser tutorial with many applets and examples. Applets may not work, depending on browser and permissions.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/lightandcolor/laserhome.html Everything from stimulated emission and cavity modes to modelocked lasers and how a cd works.

http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersam.htm Sam's laser FAQ- everything you could ask about all kinds of lasers, including how to build them in your "home lab"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40QU5yQjra4 Exploration of laser light with inexpensive pointer and supplies

LASER SAFETY

http://www.safety.vanderbilt.edu/training/flash/laser/player.html Excellent laser safety tutorial from Vanderbilt University

http://ehs.unc.edu/training/self_study/laser/ UNC laser safety tutorial

http://www.laserinstitute.org The Laser Institute of America - publications and training

http://www.rli.com/resources/accident.aspx Rockwell Laser Industries, laser safety consultants, data base of laser accidents.

http://www.lasershowsafety.info/ International Laser Display Association. Good information on laser show safety and laser pointers and aviation

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COOL THINGS DONE WITH OPTICS/PHOTONICS

http://www.thefoa.org A technicians guide to fiber theory, test and installation with text, self tests and videos

http://lasiksurgerycost.net/all-about-the-eye 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

http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/ 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

http://www.dpbsmith.com/prescription/ what the numbers in an eyeglass prescription mean

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/ The SOHO (Solar & Heliospheric Observatory) project- beautiful solar images, good spectroscopy application

http://photomachining.com Photos and examples of laser micro-machining

http://www.holokits.com Tutorials and articles about holography, plus an online store for plates and chemicals.

https://www.litiholo.comHolograms at home with no chemical processing

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ATMOSPHERIC OPTICS

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/refrn/Lesson-4/Rainbow-Formation How rainbows are formed.

http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/ A page about the green flash (atmospheric, not superhero)

http://www.atoptics.co.uk/ Beautiful photos and explanations of atmospheric optical phenomena

http://www.weather-photography.com/index.php Photos of weather (lots of lightning), ice and frost, astronomy and more, as well as atmospheric optics.

http://www.allthesky.com Digital images of the sky- and everything that's in it.

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SOCIETIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND ONLINE MAGAZINES

http://www.spie.org SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering

http://www.osa.org the Optical Society of America

http://www.ico-optics.org/ International Commission for Optics

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A FEW REALLY COOL PHYSICS SITES

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ Not entirely optics, but a beautiful site devoted to snow crystals

http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/ir_tutorial/ Cool cosmos- fantastic IR photos of everyday items, plus other educational resources from the Spitzer telescope site.

http://www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8 Four Richard Feynman lectures in streaming video format

http://science.nasa.gov/ Space-related news, lots of interesting (and some weird) articles and photos from NASA archives

http://www.colorado.edu/UCB/AcademicAffairs/ArtsSciences/physics/PhysicsInitiative/Physics2000/applets/ 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)

http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/outreach/HEG/groovie.html High Energy Groovy Movie: x-ray astronomy as you've never seen- or heard- it. Includes lesson plan.

http://www.globalspec.com/trebuchet/ Trebuchet, the sport of engineers. Can you make the high score list?

http://www.yorku.ca/eye/ Not physics, entirely, but a complete online textbook, The Joy of Visual Perception

http://www.astrocappella.com/IYA/videos.shtml And if you liked the High Energy Groovy Movie, here are a few more videos by the AstroCapella Group

http://hubblesite.org Home page of the Hubble telescope

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html Astronomy picture of the day- something new every day.

 

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