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ABSTRACT

Lasers have always fascinated the human mind. Is there something found in
lasers that in turns make us be fond of it? Indeed optics has always been a part of
human lives? What is optics in the first place?
“The field of optics usually describes the behavior of visible, infrared, and
ultraviolet light; however because light is an electromagnetic wave, analogous
phenomena occur in X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, and other forms of
electromagnetic radiation. Optics can thus be regarded as a sub-field of
electromagnetism. Hence, as a definition, Optics is a branch of physics that
describes the behavior and properties of light and the interaction of light with
matter. Optics explains optical phenomena.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optics)
Our study involves one practical application of optics, lasers. “The name
LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of
Radiation. In 1917, Albert Einstein first theorized about the process which makes
lasers possible called "Stimulated Emission."”
(http://inventors.about.com/od/lstartinventions/a/laser.htm)

Inspired by lasers, our project revolves around fascinating applications of


physics. The first one is measuring the sugar concentration of liquids using laser
pointers. The objective of this experiment is to see if sugar concentrations in water
can be determined using the index of refraction of the solution. Secondly, is using a
laser pointer to measure data track spacing on CDs and DVDs. The objective of this
project is to learn how to use a diffraction pattern to measure the pitch (spacing) of
the data tracks on CDs and DVDs.

The concepts explained by this study are the following: prism method and
diffraction as well as the Snell’s Law. From Wikipedia, “Snell's law (also known as
Descartes' law or the law of refraction), is a formula used to describe the
relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction, when referring to light
or other waves, passing through a boundary between two different isotropic media,
such as air and glass. The law says that the ratio of the sines of the angles of
incidence and of refraction is a constant that depends on the media. While
diffraction refers to Diffraction refers to various phenomena associated with wave
propagation, such as the bending, spreading and interference of waves passing by
an object or aperture that disrupts the wave. It occurs with any type of wave,
including sound waves, water waves, electromagnetic waves such as visible light, x-
rays and radio waves. Diffraction also occurs with matter – according to the
principles of quantum mechanics, any physical object has wave-like properties.”