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Use of Smartphones in Optical Experimentation
Author(s): Yiping Zhao; Yoong Sheng Phang
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Book Description

SPIE is making this freely available as an ebook. Click here to download the full PDF.

Use of Smartphones in Optical Experimentation shows how smartphone-based optical labs can be designed and realized. The book presents demonstrations of fundamental geometric and physical optical principles, including the law of reflection, the law of refraction, image formation equations, dispersion, Beer’s law, polarization, Fresnel’s equations, optical rotation, diffraction, interference, and blackbody radiation. Many practical applications—how to design a monochromator and a spectrometer, use the Gaussian beam of a laser, measure the colors of LED lights, and estimate the temperature of an incandescent lamp or the Sun—are also included. The experimental designs provided in this book represent only a hint of the power of leveraging the technological capability of smartphones and other low-cost materials to create a physics lab.

This book can be used as a guide for undergraduate students and instructors for a hands-on experience with optics, especially for an online optical lab; elementary and high school science teachers to develop smartphone-based labs for classroom demonstrations; and anyone who wants to explore fundamental STEM concepts by designing and performing experiments anywhere.

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Book Details

Date Published: 30 September 2022
Pages: 180
ISBN: 9781510654976
Volume: TT124

Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Preface

1 Smartphones and Their Optical Sensors
1.1 History and Current Utilization in Education
1.2 Smartphone Camera
     1.2.1 Optical sensor
     1.2.2 Adaptive optical system
1.3 Using the Smartphone Camera in Experiments
References

2 Experimental Data Analysis
2.1 Experiments and Measurement Error
     2.1.1 General physics experimental procedure
     2.1.2 The experimental measurements
     2.1.3 Errors in measurements
2.2 Numerical/Parameter Estimation
     2.2.1 Estimation of a direct measurement
     2.2.2 Estimation of a relationship
2.3 Model Testing
References

3 Law of Reflection
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Smartphone Experiment (Alec Cook and Ryan Pappafotis, 2015)
     3.2.1 General strategy
     3.2.2 Materials
     3.2.3 Experimental setup
     3.2.4 Experimental results

4 Law of Refraction
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Smartphone Experiment (Alec Cook and Ryan Pappafotis, 2015)
     4.2.1 General strategy
     4.2.2 Materials
     4.2.3 Experimental setup
     4.2.4 Experimental results

5 Image Formation
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Smartphone Experiment (Michael Biddle and Robert Dawson, 2015; Yoong Sheng Phang, 2021)
     5.2.1 General strategy
     5.2.2 Materials
     5.2.3 Experimental setup
     5.2.4 Experimental results
References

6 Linear Polarization
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Smartphone Experiment (Sungjae Cho and Aojie Xue, 2019)
     6.2.1 General strategy
     6.2.2 Materials
     6.2.3 Experimental setup
     6.2.4 Experimental results

7 Fresnel Equations
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Smartphone Experiment (Graham McKinnon, 2020)
     7.2.1 General strategy
     7.2.2 Materials
     7.2.3 Experimental setup
     7.2.4 Preliminary results

8 Brewster’s Angle
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Smartphone Experiment (Robert Bull and Daniel Desena, 2019)
     8.2.1 General strategy
     8.2.2 Materials
     8.2.3 Experimental setup
     8.2.4 Experimental results
Reference

9 Optical Rotation
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Smartphone Experiment (Nicholas Kruegler, 2020)
     9.2.1 General strategy
     9.2.2 Materials
     9.2.3 Experimental setup
     9.2.4 Experimental results
References

10 Thin Film Interference
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Smartphone Experiment (Nicolas Lohner and Austin Baeckeroot, 2017)
     10.2.1 General strategy
     10.2.2 Materials
     10.2.3 Experimental setup
     10.2.4 Experimental results

11 Wedge Interference
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Smartphone Experiment (Graham McKinnon and Nicholas Brosnahan, 2020)
     11.2.1 General strategy
     11.2.2 Materials
     11.2.3 Experimental setup
     11.2.4 Experimental results

12 Diffraction from Gratings
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Smartphone Experiment I: Diffraction from an iPhone Screen (Zach Eidex and Clayton Oetting, 2018)
     12.2.1 General strategy
     12.2.2 Materials
     12.2.3 Experimental setup
     12.2.4 Experimental results
12.3 Smartphone Experiment II: Diffraction from a Grating and a Hair (Nick Brosnahan, 2020)
     12.3.1 General Strategy
     12.3.2 Materials
     12.3.3 Experimental setup
     12.3.4 Experimental results
References

13 Structural Coloration of Butterfly Wings and Peacock Feathers
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Smartphone Experiment I: Diffraction in a Box—Scale Spacing of Morpho Butterfly Wings (Mary Lalak and Paul Brackman, 2014)
     13.2.1 General strategy
     13.2.2 Materials
     13.2.3 Experimental setup
     13.2.4 Experimental results
13.3 Smartphone Experiment II: Barbule Spacing of Peacock Feathers (Caroline Doctor and Yuta Hagiya, 2019)
     13.3.1 General strategy
     13.3.2 Materials
     13.3.3 Experimental setup
     13.3.4 Experimental results
References

14 Optical Rangefinder Based on Gaussian Beam of Lasers
14.1 Introduction
14.2 Smartphone Experiment I: A Two-laser Optical Rangefinder (Elizabeth McMillan and Jacob Squires, 2014)
     14.2.1 General strategy
     14.2.2 Materials
     14.2.3 Experimental setup
     14.2.4 Experimental results
14.3 Smartphone Experiment II: Estimating the Beam Waist Parameter with a Single Laser (Joo Sung and Connor Skehan, 2015)
     14.3.1 General strategy
     14.3.2 Materials
     14.3.3 Experimental setup
     14.3.4 Experimental results

15 Monochromator
15.1 Introduction
15.2 Smartphone Experiment I: A Diffractive Monochromator (Nathan Neal, 2018)
     15.2.1 General strategy
     15.2.2 Materials
     15.2.3 Experimental setup
     15.2.4 Experimental results
15.3 Smartphone Experiment II: A Dispersive Monochromator (Myles Popa and Steven Handcock, 2016)
     15.3.1 General strategy
     15.3.2 Materials
     15.3.3 Experimental setup
     15.3.4 Experimental results

16 Optical Spectrometers
16.1 Introduction
16.2 Smartphone Experiment I: A Diffractive Emission Spectrometer (Helena Gien and David Pearson, 2016)
     16.2.1 General strategy
     16.2.2 Materials
     16.2.3 Experimental setup
     16.2.4 Experimental results
16.3 Smartphone Experiment II: Spectra of Different Combustion Sources (Ryan McArdle and Griffin Dangler, 2016)
     16.3.1 General strategy
     16.3.2 Materials
     16.3.3 Experimental setup
     16.3.4 Experimental results
Reference

17 Dispersion
17.1 Introduction
17.2 Smartphone Experiment (Eric Older and Mario Parra, 2018)
     17.2.1 General strategy
     17.2.2 Materials
     17.2.3 Experimental setup
     17.2.4 Experimental results
Reference

18 Beer’s Law
18.1 Introduction
18.2 Smartphone Experiment (Sean Krautheim and Emory Perry, 2018)
     18.2.1 General strategy
     18.2.2 Materials
     18.2.3 Experimental setup
     18.2.4 Experimental results

19 Optical Spectra of Incandescent Lightbulbs and LEDs
19.1 Introduction
19.2 Smartphone Experiment I: Spectral Radiance of an Incandescent Lightbulb (Tyler Christensen and Ryan Matuszak, 2017)
     19.2.1 General strategy
     19.2.2 Materials
     19.2.3 Experimental setup
     19.2.4 Experimental results
19.3 Smartphone Experiment II: Spectral Radiance of White LED Lightbulbs (Troy Crawford and Rachel Taylor, 2018)
     19.3.1 General strategy
     19.3.2 Materials
     19.3.3 Experimental setup
     19.3.4 Experimental results
References

20 Blackbody Radiation of the Sun
20.1 Introduction
20.2 Smartphone Experiment (Patrick Mullen and Connor Woods, 2015)
     20.2.1 General Strategy
     20.2.2 Materials
     20.2.3 Experimental setup
     20.2.4 Experimental results
References

21 Example Course Instructions for Smartphone-based Optical Labs
21.1 General Lab Instructions
     21.1.1 Important notices for students
     21.1.2 Lab materials
     21.1.3 Lab instructions
21.2 Polarization Labs
     21.2.1 Required lab materials
     21.2.2 Lab instruction
     21.2.3 Additional labs
21.3 Reflection Labs
     21.3.1 Required lab materials
     21.3.2 Lab instructions
     21.3.3 Additional labs
21.4 Interference Labs
     21.4.1 Required lab materials
     21.4.2 Lab instruction
     21.4.3 Additional labs
21.5 Diffraction Labs
     21.5.1 Required lab materials
     21.5.2 Lab instruction
21.6 Summary of Lab Results

Appendix I Materials Used in Labs

Appendix II Web Links and Smartphone Applications

Appendix III Introduction to ImageJ
III.1 Starting ImageJ
III.2 ImageJ Menu
III.3 ImageJ Toolbar
III.4 Image Analysis Example Using ImageJ
Reference

Appendix IV Connecting the Laser Diode

Preface

Since 2015, I have incorporated smartphone-based optics projects in my Introduction to Modern Optics classes at the University of Georgia. In addition to completing the required optics labs, students in this class are asked to work in pairs on an optics project using a smartphone. Each project involves the use of some cheap household materials, LEGO® blocks, or a 3D printer to design an apparatus incorporating a smartphone to demonstrate an optical principle or application. The total cost of each project is less than $30. The teams pick a topic for their project from a list provided by the instructor or propose a project idea themselves during the second week of class.

These smartphone-based optical projects and labs offer the following advantages:

  1. To use hands-on smartphone-based experiments to enable a better understanding of basic optical concepts, especially for students who have difficulty with abstract thinking
  2. To encourage students to learn improved data analysis and modeling techniques while conducting authentic scientific research and obtaining a more rigorous training in scientific report writing
  3. To help students gain confidence in their ability to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to design a smartphone-based instrument or experiment
  4. To motivate students to be creative designers through hands-on experience with modern technology used for practical applications
  5. To improve students' problem-solving skills
  6. To serve as a popular template for other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes and extend the STEM education model to K-12 education and the general community
They also meet the five fundamental goals for introductory physics labs according to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). In addition, these projects provide physics teachers an alternative to labs when the courses are taught remotely due to special circumstances, such as a pandemic.

We hope that this book can serve the following purposes: first, it may give some rough ideas about the versatility of smartphones in physics laboratories for education; second, it may serve as a guidebook for science teachers who want to incorporate these kinds of labs into their classroom or outside activities; third, it could provide inspiration for students or science hobbyists to design and construct their own labs; and finally, it could be a useful resource for parents who want to initiate a science journey for their child.

Yiping Zhao
August 2022
Athens, Georgia, USA


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