Polariscope and Snowflake Decor

The needed snowflake decoratons and polarizing film are affordably priced here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: acrylic snowflake decorations

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Polarizing film

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Polariscope Holiday Decor: while wearing my polarizing sunglasses I happened to notice psychedelic and fractal like colors appearing within these snowflake decorations, inspiring further exploration and production of this display. What’s going on? Polarized light revealing the hidden rainbows due to internal stresses imposed on polymer materials such as these snowflake ornaments of polystyrene, a technique used to model stress distribution patterns in engineering. Place the polymer samples between two linear polarizer filters and the internal stresses created by the molding process during manufacturing produce colors through birefringence due to photoelasticity.

Simple Polarimeter and Polarization Art

This DIY device is part of the polarization kit that you will get from a MEL Physics subscription:

Subscribe to: MEL Physics (click to see the contents of this great kit). 

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Simple Polarimeter and Polarization Art: another amazing experiment from the MEL Physics polarization science kit. Geometric patterns of overlapping cellophane tape with color revealed when viewed with linear polarizing filters- create your own polarization art! This kit provides two linear polarizing sheets that when oriented at 90 degrees creates this device that reveals rainbows hidden within the patterns of polarization in the light transmitted by various objects. In the first video the layers of cellophane rotate the polarization of some light frequencies more than others. In the second video the polarimeter colorfully reveals the trapped internal stresses created in many plastics from their formation process (typically cooling of a liquid in a mold). All items shown included in this kit (plus much more). 

Simple Polarimeter

This DIY device is part of the polarization kit that you will get from a MEL Physics subscription:

Subscribe to: MEL Physics

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Simple Polarimeter: Two linear polarizing sheets oriented at 90 degrees creates this device that reveals rainbows hidden within the patterns of polarization in the light transmitted by some common plastic objects. Just one of many amazing experiments from the MEL Physics science kit collection. Polypropylene is a clear transparent plastic comprised on long chain like molecules which interact with light wave orientation- when this plastic substance is heated to form things like utensils or containers, these long strand molecules lock in pattens of stress from the cooling, which are revealed as changes in color/frequency of the transmitted light.


Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope

Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored

Similar Kaleidoscopes available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope 
From Etsy: Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection: Kaleidoscopes

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Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope: the amazing colors you see from the object cell of this 3 mirror kaleidoscope are generated by manipulating the polarization of light- the object in the clear wand is a strip of clear cellophane in oil which has the property of optical rotation. These property allows for an incredible range of color formation when placed between two linear polarization filters (swipe for demonstration). A creation of kaleidoscope artist Ron Kuhns.

Lampe Kino: Polarizing Art

The amazing art of Anne-Lise King available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kino Lamp Polarizing Art Lights

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Lampe Kino: Art from from the manipulation of polarized light. These videos showcase two designs by artist Anne-Lise King, and each design can itself be displayed in numerous ways depending on the orientation of the polarizing filter and the layering of plastic imaging sheets. Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors produced here come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of light that passes through- light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic in proportion to their frequency, red and blue frequencies only a small amount. The images here are constructed with different layers of plastic to rotate the light by differing amounts. Polarizing filters are then added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.

Circularly Polarized Reflecting Scarab

Specimens of this beetle are available on eBay: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW CP reflecting Jewel Scarab 

Get the circular polarizing filters here (inexpensive): 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Circular Polarizing Filter Glasses 

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It was only recently discovered (2010) that Chrysina gloriosa and other jewel scarab beetles can actually see circularly polarized light! The metallic appearance of these beetles is a form ofstructural coloration involving interference. 

Wikipedia has a great introduction to Circularly Polarized Light 

Circularly Polarized Reflecting Scarab: the iridescent jewel scarabs like this one (Chrysina Gloriosa) have a very rare property: they reflect only circularly polarized light! When viewed through a filter that allows only left CP light the metallic greens and gold colors of the beetle are clearly visible, but if viewed through a right CP filter hardly any light gets through and the beetle looks dark brown. Circularly polarized light is similar to linearly polarized light except the direction of the electric field rotates around the direction of motion such that there is a left handed version (clockwise) and a right handed version. When left handed CP light reflects off a mirror it becomes right handed and vice versa- as seen here with this beetle's reflection. My CP light filters came from a pair of RealD 3D movie glasses. Nobel Laureate Albert Michelson was the first to discover that jewel scarabs preferentially reflect left CP light back in 1911. 


Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes made by artist Ron Kuhns are sometimes available on eBay. 

Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes

Here is an inexpensive toy kaleidoscope that uses polarization for create the colors: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Polarized Kaleidoscope Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope: the amazing colors you see from the object cell of this two mirror kaleidoscope are generated by manipulating the polarization of light- the items in the cell are either pieces of polarizing filter or clear and transparent pieces of mica and plastics that have the property of optical rotation. These properties allow for an incredible range of color formation as the pieces shift and overlap when the kaleidoscope is turned. One of 100 made by kaleidoscope artist Ron Kuhns. 

Polarizing Filter Black Wall Illusion

Amazon lists acrylic tubing at a reasonable price: get a 2 foot long tube with an inner diameter of 1.5 inches for about $17 US. This will accommodate a large marble for the demonstration. 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Acrylic Tubing 

For a 1.5 inch inner diameter (3.8 cm) tube you will need a 10 inch (25.4 cm) wide sheet to complete a cylinder inside the tube. 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Film

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Polarizing Filter Black Wall Illusion: two sheets of polarizing film (with polarization axes oriented at 90 degrees to each other) create this illusion inside an acrylic tube. Physics magic!

Simple Polariscope

This kit has everything needed to make your own polariscope: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Film Kit 
The kit also includes a birefringent crystal, colorful optically active mica sheets, and a polarimetry demo that reveals when structures are under stress. A great value for so much physics fun! 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Simple Polariscope: polarized light reveals the hidden rainbows due to internal stresses imposed on polymer materials such as these pieces of polystyrene flatware, a technique used to model stress distribution patterns in engineering. Place the polymer samples between two linear polarizer filters and the internal stresses created by the molding process during manufacturing produce colors through birefringence due to photoelasticity.


Three Polarizing Sheets

Get some polarizing filter sheets here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Polarizing Sheets 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

See this short introduction to linear polarizing filters on Hyperphysics, and many more details on polarization from Wikipedia

Three Polarizing Sheets: quantum mechanical behavior with light polarization. Two linear polarizing sheets oriented at 90 degrees blocks all light- if a third sheet is placed between, oriented at 45 degrees, an eighth of the original light then gets through! A classic example of the quantum mechanical phenomenon of superposition of states as it pertains to the polarization orientation of photons and probability of transmission.