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

Objectives

Nano Content Map
Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

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

Development Process
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