Lasers for Learning: Using lasers in the Classroom
Lasers are often used within physics classrooms and labs. They allow students to conduct experiments at different wavelengths and test the different outcomes. However, switching between wavelengths can take time in order to realign the laser in a new setup with a different wavelength.
Setting up lasers as a teacher
When using lasers for physics experiments, different wavelengths are needed for various experiments. Teachers need to manage those arrangements in advance, and this can be very time-consuming.
However, the HEXA-BEAM laser takes away this need for various experimental setups. With a single turn of a knob, you can switch between six different wavelengths. This not only allows for a more controlled experiment setup but also means less time wasted in setting up a new laser for each experiment.
What classes of lasers are used in physics labs?
Only Class 2 lasers are considered safe for use in classrooms and labs. This is because Class 2 lasers are relatively weak and would not harm an eye unless a person deliberately stares into the beam. Class 2 lasers should have an output below 1 mW.
Why is a laser used in experiments and how are lasers used?
A laser allows a student or teacher to perform an optical experiment. The laser will provide a visible and clear light source in order to obtain accurate measurements.
What do the different laser colours mean?
Commonly, lasers will produce 4 different colours of light- green, red and blue, and yellow. The different laser colours show the wavelength of the laser beam. The colours vary from violet, blue, and green to red and infrared. The HEXA-BEAM laser produces 6 different wavelengths of light – from violet, green, and red as standard, to additional greens and reds, and blue…
Green light is from 520 nm to 532 nm and usually appears brighter to the human eyes, when at the same power, the output of each of the colours is the same.
Red light sources are between 630nm and 670nm and Violet and blue light measure from 405nm to 445nm.
Why the HEXA-BEAM Laser is the perfect laser for physics experiments
The HEXA-BEAM laser is able to switch between 6 different wavelengths with ease, so there is no need to re-align your equipment and restart the setup of the experiment.
The different wavelengths that the HEXA-BEAM laser produces are emitted along the same optical path and are vertically polarised. As standard, the HEXA-BEAM contains 405nm, 520 nm, and 650 nm modules.
What physics experiments can the HEXA-BEAM laser be used for?
The ease of set up and flexibility of the HEXA-BEAM makes it ideal for a number of experiments within the classroom or lab including:
- Biot’s Optical Rotation Experiment or Biot’s Sugar Experiment
- Rotation of the Plane of Polarisation
- The Faraday Effect
- Poisson spot (Fresnel bright spot) experiment (showing that light behaves as a wave)
- Malus’s law
- The law of refraction, measuring refractive indices at different wavelengths of different materials, producing diffraction patterns
- Determining the emission wavelength using a simple grating
- Demonstrating Mie and Rayleigh scatterings
- Demonstrating chirality of molecules
Safety with physics lasers
It’s important to note the health and safety precautions which must be followed when using lasers within a classroom or physics lab. Lasers should not be shone directly into a person’s eye and indirectly by reflecting the laser off a surface into the eyes. Students should be in a safe viewing zone, where the potential for the laser to be directed into the eyes is nil.
The HEXA-BEAM laser complies with the health and safety regulations for use in undergraduate labs.
- By having emissions powers of standard wavelengths under 1mW
- By meeting the ‘class 2’ specifications which in turn minimises the potential health risks and hazards
For more information on how Photonics Technologies can provide your school, or university with physics experiment equipment, please get in touch.
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