6A01.05 - Speed of Light - Laser Diode

See paragraph one in the procedure section.
See paragraph two in the procedure section.
Code Number:
6A01.05
Demo Title:
Speed of Light - Laser Diode
Condition:
Excellent
Principle:
Speed of Light
Area of Study:
Optics, Astronomy
Equipment:
Laser Diode pulser unit, corner cube, digital oscilloscope, laptop with Softscope interface, optics rail, meter tape measure, Plexiglas block.
Procedure:

Align the pulser unit and the corner cube when they are separated by a distance of 1.25 meters ( total path = 2.5 m ).  Either the digital scope or the laptop with interface can be used depending on what type of projection you want to do.  The digital scope usually has less noise when the corner cube is moved.  You will get a single rise curve for a single path and a double rise curve for the two paths.  The part of the curve to measure is the first full rise (time of the sent pulse and its return from the corner cube).  Both the digital scope and the laptop have cursers that can measure directly the time for that distance traveled.  

An interesting experiment to try is the measurement of the index of refraction of another medium such as Plexiglas.  Place the Plexiglas block into the light path and measure the change in the path time difference between the air and the Plexiglas.

References:
  • Robert P. Bauman, "Wave Propagation", TPT, Vol. 39, # 9, Dec. 2001, p. 545.
  • W. Larry Freeman, "The Velocity-of-Light Apparatus by PHYWE - An Evaluation", TPT, Vol. 35, # 5, May 1997, p. 295.
  • John E. Carlson, "Speed of Light Measurement with the Laser Pointer", TPT, Vol.  34, # 3, p. 176-177, March 1996.
  • Allan Feldman, "The Speed of Light in Different Media", TPT, Vol. 29, # 2, Feb. 1991, p. 112. 
  • "Heavy Conversation on a  Light Topic", TPT, Vol. 24, # 1, Jan. 1986, A Physics Student Newsletter, Vol. 1, # 1.
  • Abdulaziz M. Aljalal, "Speed of Light Measurement with a Picosecond Diode Laser and a Voltage-Controlled Oscillator", AJP, Vol. 90, #12, Dec. 2022, p. 935.
  • E. D. Greaves, An Michel Rodriguez, J. Ruiz-Camacho, "Erratum: "A One-Way Speed of Light Experiment" ", AJP, Vol. 78, # 8, p. 878, Aug. 2010.
  • J. Finkelstein, "Comment on "A One Way Speed of Light Experiment", by E. D. Greaves, An Michel Rodriguez, J. Ruiz-Camacho", AJP, Vol. 78, # 8, p. 877, Aug. 2010.
  • Jed Brody, Laura Griffin, Phil Segre, "Measurements of the Speed of Light in Water Using Foucault's Technique", AJP, Vol. 78, # 6, June 2010, p. 650.
  • E.D. Greaves, Michel Rodriguez, J. Ruiz-Camacho, "A One-Way Speed of Light Experiment", AJP, Vol. 77, # 10, Oct. 2009, p. 894.
  • Kenichiro Aoki, Takahisa Mitsui, "A Tabletop Experiment for the Direct Measurement of the Speed of Light", AJP, Vol. 76, # 9, p. 812, Sept. 2008.
  • George W. Clark, "An Electrical Measurement of the Speed of Light", AJP, # 2, Feb. 2001, p. 110.
  • R. E. Crandall, "Minimal Apparatus for the Speed-of-Light Measurement", AJP, Vol. 50, # 12, Dec. 1982, p. 1157.
  • Darryl Thayer, "Another Speed of Light Apparatus", AJP, Vol. 41, #5, May 1973, p. 722.
  • D. T. Phillips and R. Thompson, "Speed of Light with NLaser", AJP, Vol. 38, #11, Nov. 1970, p. 1353.
  • T. Kallard, "Measurement of the Speed of Light", Exploring Laser Light, p. 76.
  • "Velocity of Light Demonstration Using a New Short-Duration Pulsed-Light Source", Apparatus Notes, July 1965-December 1972, p. 27.
  • Yaakov Kraftmakher, "4.7, Speed of Light", Experiments and Demonstrations in Physics, ISBN 981-256-602-3, p. 257.
  • R. Weinstein, "Apparatus for Direct Measurement of the Velocity of Light", Apparatus Notes, July 1965-December 1972, p. 97.

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