CDs and DVDs as Diffraction Gratings (High School curriculum lesson)

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Description: 

The objective of this lab is to campare the diffraction behavior of light waves between a CD and DVD. CDs and DVDs contain regularly spaced micrometer sized features which can act like a diffraction grating. Using commercial electronic storage devices like CDs and DVDs as gratings rather than commercially produced plan transmission gratings enhances student interest in the activity and also opens up a discussion on the trend of improving storage capacity with the invention of Blu-ray and layered DVDs. By conducting this experiment the students should be able to calculate the spacing between tracks of a CD and DVD. This lab also incorporates nanotechnology by including AFM (Atomic Force Microscope) images of a CD and DVD for the students to compare with their macro-scale data.

Audience: 

Credits

Funding: 
National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) funded by the National Science Foundation
Owning institution: 
National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN); © 2009 Georgia Institute of Technology
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