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TO MEASURE THE WAVELENGTH OF SODIUM LIGHT

USING NEWTONS RINGS


A PHYSICS PROJECT REPORT
Submitted by
ANUSHA PRASAD
In Partial Fulfillment Of The
CBSE GRADE XII
In
PHYSICS
AT

AECS MAGNOLIA MARUTI PUBLIC


SCHOOL
#36/909, ARAKERE, BANNERGHATTA
ROAD,
BANGALORE- 560076.
2013-2014

CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that ANUSHA PRASAD of Grade XII, AECS


MAGNOLIA MAARUTI PUBLIC SCHOOL, BANGALORE with register
number ____________________ has satisfactorily completed the project in
Physics on TO MEASURE THE WAVELENGTH OF SODIUM LICHT
USING NEWTONS RINGS in partial fulfillment of the requirements of All
India Secondary School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) as prescribed by
CBSE in the year 2013-2014.

Signature of the

Signature of the

Candidate

Teacher In-Charge

Signature of the
Principal

Signature of the
External Examiner

Contents
1.

ABBREVIATION..................................................................................................................1

2.

INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. 2

3.

THEORY.............................................................................................................................. 4

4.

SCOPE AND LIMITATION................................................................................................10

5.

APPARATUS...................................................................................................................... 12

6.

DESCRIPTION OF COMPONENTS...................................................................................13
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4

SODIUM LAMP........................................................................................................... 13
TRAVELLING MICROSCOPE........................................................................................14
PLANO- CONVEX LENS...............................................................................................15
SPHEROMETER............................................................................................................16

7.

PROCEDURE..................................................................................................................... 18

8.

OBSERVATION.................................................................................................................. 20
8.1
8.2

TABLE FOR DETERMINATION OF (D2N+P D2N)........................................................20


TO DETERMINE RADIUS OF CURVATURE OF CONVEX LENS...................................21

CALCULATIONS............................................................................................................... 22

9.

9. 1
9.2

TO FIND THE DIAMETER OF NEWTONS RINGS.....................................................................22


TO FIND THE RADIUS OF CURVATURE OF THE CONVEX LENS.................................................22

10.

RESULT.......................................................................................................................... 23

11.

CONCLUSION................................................................................................................ 24

12.

BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................................................................................ 25

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank my teachers, Mrs. Bernali and Mrs. Jayathi for guiding
me through this project and for their valuable inputs which provided me with
a constant nudge for improvement.
It is imperative to thank our Principal, Mrs. Seema Goel for providing me
the opportunity to work on this project.
It goes without saying that my classmates, especially Abhirami, Madhumati,
and Shruthi for their help in due course of this project. My parents have also
played a part in helping me in this project. My thanks goes out to them also.
This project and reading-up on the same has provided me with an in depth
understanding of the topic. It has nurtured my scientific temperament and
curiosity.

Signature of the
Candidate

1. ABBREVIATION

Sl.No

Abbreviatio
n
1
2
3
4

M.S.R
L.S.R
T.R
C.S.R

Expansion
Main Scale Reading
Linear Scale reading
Total Reading
Circular Scale Reading

2. INTRODUCTION
Newtons rings, in optics, is a series of concentric light- and dark-coloured
bands observed between two pieces of glass when one is convex and rests on
its convex side on another piece having a flat surface. Thus, a layer of air
exists between them. The phenomenon is caused by the interference of light
wavesi.e., the superimposing of trains of waves so that when their crests
coincide, the light brightens; but when trough and crest meet, the light is
destroyed. Light waves reflected from both top and bottom surfaces of the
air film between the two pieces of glass interfere.
The phenomenon was first described by Robert Hooke in his 1664 book
Micrographia, although its name derives from the physicist Isaac Newton,
who was the first to analyze it.
The principle is often used in testing the uniformity of a polished surface by
studying the interference pattern the surface makes when placed in contact
with a perfectly flat glass surface.

The outer rings are spaced more closely than the inner ones. Moving
outwards from one dark ring to the next, for example, increases the path
difference by the same amount, , corresponding to the same increase of
thickness of the air layer, /2. Since the slope of the convex lens surface
increases outwards, separation of the rings gets smaller for the outer rings.
For surfaces that are not convex, the fringes will not be rings but will have
other shapes.The phenomenon of Newtons rings is used to calculate the
wavelength of monochromatic sodium light.
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A thin wedge shaped air film is created by placing a plano-convex lens on a


flat glass plate. A monochromatic beam of light is made to fall at almost
normal incidence on the arrangement. Ring like interference fringes are
observed in the reflected light. The diameters of the rings are measured.

Newtons rings" interference pattern created by a plano-convex lens


illuminated by 650nm red laser light, photographed using a low-power
microscope.

How the interference fringes form.

3. THEORY
Thin film interference with films of varying thickness (Newtons rings):
Rings are fringes of equal thickness. They are observed when light is
reflected from a plano-convex lens of a long focal length placed in contact
with a plane glass plate. A thin air film is formed between the plate and the
lens.

The thickness of the air film varies from zero at the point of contact to some
value t. If the lens plate system is illuminated with monochromatic light
falling on it normally, concentric bright and dark interference rings are
observed in reflected light.
These circular fringes were discovered by Newton and are called Newtons
rings. A ray AB incident normally on the system gets partially reflected at
the bottom curved surface of the lens (Ray 1) and part of the transmitted ray
is partially reflected (Ray 2) from the top surface of the plane glass plate.
The rays 1 and 2 are derived from the same incident ray by division of
amplitude and therefore are coherent. Ray 2 undergoes a phase change of p
upon reflection since it is reflected from air-to-glass boundary.
The condition for constructive and destructive interferences are given as;
for normal incidence cos r = 1 and for air film = 1.
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..(Constructive interference)

..(Destructive interference)

1. Central dark spot: At the point of contact of the lens with the glass
plate the thickness of the air film is very small compared to the
wavelength of light therefore the path difference introduced between
the interfering waves is zero. Consequently, the interfering waves at
the centre are opposite in phase and interfere destructively. Thus a
dark spot is produced.
2. Circular fringes with equal thickness: Each maximum or minimum
is a locus of constant film thickness. Since the locus of points having
the same thickness fall on a circle having its centre at the point of
contact, the fringes are circular.
3. Fringes are localized: Though the system is illuminated with a
parallel beam of light, the reflected rays are not parallel. They
interfere nearer to the top surface of the air film and appear to diverge
from there when viewed from the top. The fringes are seen near the
upper surface of the film and hence are said to be localized in the film.

4. Radii of the mth dark rings

5. Radii of the mth bright ring

The radius of a dark ring is proportional to the radius of curvature of the


lens
by
the
relation,
. Rings get closer as the order increases (m increases) since the diameter
does not increase in the same proportion.
In transmitted light the ring system is exactly complementary to the reflected
ring system so that the centre spot is bright. Under white light we get
colored fringes
The wavelength
as..

of

monochromatic

light

can

be

determined

Where, Dm+p is the diameter of


Dm is the diameter of the mth dark ring.

the

(m+p)th dark

ring

and

This method for determining the wavelength of light was proposed by Sir
Isaac Newton in his book Opticks, published in 1717. The experimental
arrangement is shown in Figure 1.
A plano-convex lens of large radius of curvature R is placed on a plane glass
plate with its curved surface downwards and is illuminated from above with
a parallel beam of monochromatic light. Some of the light is reflected from
the upper surface of the glass plate and some from the lower surface of the
lens; interference thus occurs by division of amplitude, the fringes being
localised in the air gap between the lens and plate.
At any point a distance r from the axis of the lens the path difference will
be2h, where h is the distance between the lens and the plate at that point
(SeeFigure 2). The interference fringes are circular because the system is
symmetrical about the centre of the lens. The radius of any ring is given by:
(2R h)h = r2 so

r2 = 2 Rh - h2

But h2 is small compared with 2Rh and so we can write: 2Rh = r2


The
path
difference
(2h)
is
therefore
r2/R
A phase change of p occurs when the light reflects from the top surface of
the plate but not at the lower surface of the lens, and therefore:

For a bright ring viewed by reflection: (2m + 1)/2 = rm2/R


For a dark ring viewed by reflection:

m = rm2/R

Where m = 0, 1, 2, 3, etc and rm is the radius of the mth ring.

If a graph is plotted of r2 against m for the dark rings a straight line should
be produced with a gradient given by:
(rm2 - r12)/(m - 1) = lR

where r1 and rm are the radii of the first and mth rings respectively. (See
Figure 3).
When doing the experiment it is much easier (and more accurate) to measure
the diameter of the rings and then calculate their radius. A dark central spot
should be obtained when viewed by reflection.

The rings can be viewed by transmission by putting the microscope below


the plate, and if this is done the equations for bright and dark rings should be
interchanged as two phase changes will occur, producing an effective path
difference of 2p. A bright central spot should be obtained.
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If white light is used a few coloured rings will be seen due to the different
wavelengths of the different colours of light.
Newton's rings and the refractive index of a liquid
Putting a liquid of refractive index n between the lens and the plate (Figure
5) will change the path difference to 2nh and give a formula for the m th
dark ring of:

m = [nrm2]/R

6. The radius of any given ring will be less with the liquid in place than
without it. This effect may be used to measure the refractive index of
the liquid; the method is a good one since it is accurate and easy to
perform, and only a small amount of the liquid is needed.

4. SCOPE AND LIMITATION


The interference technique of Newtons Rings is widely used for the quality
control of optical surfaces because the precision obtained with this method
proves to be very satisfactory. The dimensions of the rings permits
calculation of the radii of curvature of the analysed surfaces and deformation
of the interference pattern can be utilised to calculate other parameters, such
as astigmatism. We describe the study of progressive surfaces by means of
this technique, whereby the analysis of the various points of the progressive
corridor is made, and also include information on the power function for
these lenses, as well as the addition and corridor length.
They can be used to get a measure of how flat surfaces are. A very flat sheet
of glass, lying on top of the surface of interest will show puddles of
Newtons rings around depressions and raised areas - best to use
monochromatic light to view them with. Counting the rings and knowing the
wavelength of the illumination can give an accurate measure of the size of
any hollows and heights on a surface.
However, there are few important precautions which must be taken in order
to successfully complete this experiment. They are as follows:
The thin film must be inserted carefully between the plain glass plate
and plano convex lens without disturbing the fringes.
NB A high-pressure sodium street lamp as used in colour studies will
not give sharp fringes in this experiment. If the centre fringe is not
dark, try polishing the lens and flat with a spectacle cleaning cloth.
Sodium metal is very reactive when it is exposed to air. Hence sodium
light is covered with strong silicate glass. Thus proper care must be
taken while handling with the sodium lamp. It should be ensured that
the glass doesnt get damaged.
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There might be errors in the travelling microscope or the spherometer which


will result in erroneous values. Hence zero errors must also should be taken
into account.

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5. APPARATUS
Requirements:
a.

Apparatus Requirement
Sodium vapour lamp
Travelling Microscope
Spherometer
Plano Conves lens
Glass plate
Focussing lens
Power supply with cord.

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6. DESCRIPTION OF COMPONENTS
6.1 SODIUM LAMP
A sodium-vapor lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses sodium in an excited
state to produce light. There are two types of sodium lamps: the low pressure
sodium lamp (LPS) and the high pressure sodium lamp (HPS). A low
pressure sodium lamp is used in this experiment as high pressure sodium
lamps will not give sharp fringes in this experiment.
Low-pressure sodium (LPS) lamps have a borosilicate glass gas discharge
tube (arc tube) containing solid sodium, a small amount of neon, and argon
gas in a Penning mixture to start the gas discharge.
When the lamp is turned on it emits a dim red/pink light to warm the sodium
metal and within a few minutes it turns into bright yellow as the sodium
metal vaporises. These lamps produce a monochromatic light averaging a
wavelength of 589.3 nm. LPS lamps have an outer glass vacuum envelope
around the inner discharge tube for thermal insulation, which improves their
efficiency.
It is among the most efficient lamps in the world because it uses all the
current it gets to create light at the most sensitive frequency to the human
eye.
The advantages of sodium lamps are:
Very efficient lamp
Despite a warm up time of 5-10 minutes it restarts immediately if there is
a brownout
Lumen output does not drop with age

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An LPS with its yellow glow

6.2

TRAVELLING MICROSCOPE

Travelling Microscope

A travelling microscope is an instrument for measuring length with a


resolution typically in the order of 0.01mm. The precision is such that betterquality instruments have measuring scales made from Invar to avoid errors
due to thermal effects. The instrument comprises a microscope mounted on
two rails fixed to, or part of a very rigid bed. The position of the microscope
can be varied coarsely by sliding along the rails, or finely by turning a screw.
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The eyepiece is fitted with fine cross-hairs to fix a precise position, which is
then read off the vernier scale.
Travelling microscope consists of a cast iron base with machined-Vee-top
surface and is fitted with three leveling screws. A metallic carriage, clamped
to a spring-loaded bar slides with its attached vernier and reading lens along
an inlaid strip of metal scale. The scale is divided in half millimeters. Fine
adjustments are made by means of a micrometer screw for taking accurate
reading. Both vernier reading to 0.01mm or 0.02mm. Microscope tube
consists of 10x Eyepiece and 15mm or 50mm or 75mm objectives. The
Microscope, with its rack and pinion attachment is mounted on a vertical
slide, which too, runs with an attached vernier along the vertical scale. The
microscope is free to rotate n vertical plane. The vertical guide bar is
coupled to the horizontal carriage of the microscope. For holding objects a
horizontal stage made of a milky conolite sheet is provided in the base.

6.3

PLANO- CONVEX LENS

Plano Convex Lens


A lens which has one side plane and the other side convex, is called a plano
convex lens.
Plano-convex lenses are used to collimate diverging light or to focus
collimated light. They are used as secondary focusing lenses to refocus the
collimated light sources. Plano-convex lenses have low spherical aberration.

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This is the most common type of lens element. It is also useful as a simple
imaging lens where image quality requirement is not too critical.

6.4

SPHEROMETER

Spherometer
A spherometer is used to measure either very small thickness or the radius of
curvature of a spherical surface. It works on the principle of micrometer
screw.

The spherometer consists of a metallic tripod framework supported on three


fixed legs of equal lengths. The tips of the three legs lie on the corners of an
equilateral triangle and always lie on the same plane. At the centre of the
tripod frame is fixed a vertical nut through which passes, an accurately cut
screw. A large circular disc terminating into a milled head is attached at the
top of the screw. The circumference of the circular disc is divided into 100
or 200 equal parts. A small vertical scale is fixed at one end of the tripod
stand, parallel to the axis of the screw and just touching the rim of the
circular disc.
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The least count of a spherometer is usually 0.001cm. The least count is


calculated using the formula, L.C.=p/N where p is the pitch and N is the
number of divisions on the circular scale.

In this experiment, the spherometer is used to calculate the radius of


curvature of the plano convex lens.

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7. PROCEDURE
If a point source is used only then we require a convex lens otherwise while
using an extended source, convex lens L1 is not required.

1. Before starting the experiment, the glass plates & the Plano convex
should be thoroughly cleaned.
2. The center of lens is well illuminated by adjusting the inclination of
glass plate at 45 deg.
3. Focus the eyepiece on the crosswire and move the microscope in the
vertical plane by means of rack & pinion arrangement till the rings are
quite distinct clamp the microscope in the vertical scale.
4. According to the theory, the center of the interference fringes should
be dark but sometimes the center appears white, this is due to the
presence of dust particles between glass plate and Plano convex lens.
In this case lens should be again clean.

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5. Adjustments should be done till satisfactory fringe system of perfect


circular shape with a dark spot at the centre is obtained.
6. First, the microscope is adjusted so that the centre of the cross wires
coincides with the central dark spot of the fringe system. The
microscope is then moved slowly either towards left or right of the
centre.
7. While the microscope is moved, the number of dark rings is counted
say, up to 14.At the 14th dark ring the microscope is stopped and its
motion is reversed. It is brought back to the position of 12th ring. The
vertical cross wire is adjusted such that it will be tangential to the 12th
dark ring. In this position the reading of the microscope is noted.
8. The microscope is then moved to the 10th dark ring such that the
vertical cross wire is again tangential to the ring. The reading of the
microscope is noted. The above process is continued till 2th dark ring
is reached.
9. After taking the reading for the 2th ring the microscope is moved in
the same direction on to the opposite side of the centre. The
microscope is moved till the 2th dark ring on the opposite side is
reached. The reading is taken as before for the 2th dark ring.
10.The measurements are continued on the opposite side till 12th dark
ring is reached.
11.The observations are noted in table.

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8. OBSERVATION
Value of one division of the main scale = 0.001 cm
No of division on the vernier scale = 50
Least count of the travelling microscope = 0.001 cm
8.1

TABLE FOR DETERMINATION OF (D2n+p D2n)

LHS Reading
RHS reading
(in cm)
Sl. Order (in cm)
No.
MSR VSR TR(L) MSR VSR T.R

Diameter D2
D =(L~R) (in cm2)

D2n+p D2n D2n+p D2n/ 4mR


(in cm2)
(in cm2)

1.

10

2.4

35

2.435 2

20

2.02 0.414

0.17222 0.01856

5948

2.

2.4

2.402 2

10

2.01 0.392

0.15366 0.01824

5846

3.

2.25 16

2.266 1.85 48

1.898 0.368

0.13542 0.01914

6134

4.

2.2

36

2.236 1.85 45

1.895 0.341

0.11628 0.01831

5868

5.

2.15 48

2.198 1.85 35

1.885 0.313

0.09797 0.03547

6.

2.1

25

2.125 1.85 25

1.875 0.213

0.0625

0.01746

5628

7.

2.05 27

2.077 1.85 15

1.865 0.212

0.04494 0.01771

5676

8.

10

2.01

1.8

45

1.845 0.165

0.02723 0.01913

6131

9.

1.9

1.905 1.8

15

1.815 0.09

0.0081

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8.2
TO DETERMINE RADIUS OF CURVATURE OF
CONVEX LENS
Value of one linear scale division = 1mm
Linear distance moved = 1mm
No. of rotations given = 1
Pitch = 1mm
Least count = pitch/ no. of divisions on circular scale
No. of divisions on circular scale = 100
Least count = 0.01mm
C.S.R. on convex
surface (in mm)
A

39

C.S.R on plane
surface (in mm)
B

Complete
Rotations - n

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Incomplete
Rotations
x = A-B

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H = n*p +
x*L.C (in mm)

0.19

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9. CALCULATIONS
9. 1

To find the diameter of Newtons rings


Mean wavelength of sodium light = 5890 A

9.2

To find the radius of curvature of the convex lens


Length of the sides:
L1 = 2.98 cm
L2 = 3 cm
L3 = 2.96 cm
Mean = 2.98 cm
H = 0.019 cm
R= (L2 /6H) + (H / 2)
= 78 cm

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10.

RESULT

The mean wavelength of sodium light = 5890


Standard mean wavelength = 5890
Percentage Error = 0%

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11.

CONCLUSION

The standard wavelength and the experimental wavelength were both found
to be = 5890 with no error percentage existing.

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12.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://www.edisontechcenter.org/SodiumLamps.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-vapor_lamp
www.google.com
www.vedupro.blogspot.in
http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/applicationnewtons-rings-experiment
NCERT physics text book part 2 class XII
Comprehensive lab manual class XII

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