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6H35.15 - Double Refraction with a Calcite Crystal

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​6H35.15 - Double Refraction with a Calcite Crystal

Title6H35.15 - Double Refraction with a Calcite Crystal

Show that a calcite crystal can doubly refract a beam of light.

Assembly Instructions

Place the calcite crystal in the laser beam so that the beam passes along the optical axis. The beam is split into two components and two dots are formed on the wall. If the crystal is rotated, one beam will stay stationary while the other moves in a circle about the first beam.

If a polaroid is placed after the crystal, the polarization of the two beams can be shown by rotating either the crystal or the polaroid.  One beam will again move aroudn the other, but now their intensities will change depending on the relative position of the polaroid. 

If you place a second polaroid into the setup, past the crystal, so the two polaroids are crossed, then rotating the crystal will show that it splits the polarized beam into two polarized components.

Setup Time15
Operation Time
Preview Time5
Operation Instructions
Demo on DimeNo
PIRA 200No
Export Instructions (if different)
Category6 Optics
Subcategory6H - Polarization
Keywordspolarization, refract
Construction Information
optical rail - with mounted 4mW green laser, swival mirror, and component platform
calcite crystal
optical component - polarizer
camera - b&w