Make The Rainbow: Researchers Break Down These Colors With A Silver Light

First Posted: Feb 13, 2015 03:47 PM EST

Rainbows are oftentimes the silver-lining in an otherwise dreary day. In fact, rainbows typically need a rainy, cloudy day to even come around. Science shows us that they appear when raindrops reflect sunlight, breaking white down into varying colors. (The same example can also be seen in a prism.)

Now, researchers at Northwestern University are discovering just how to break down the beauty of a rainbow a bit further. They transformed a silver light into any color of the rainbow with a low-cost alternative to color filters used in electronic displays and monitors.

Here's how it works: a "sandwich-like" structure helps allow optical light to pass through it, while simultaneously transmitting various colors through the glass that reflect the rest of the visible spectrum. By changing the thickness of the glass used, researchers were able to filter and produce an array of colors.

"Controlling the thickness of the glass controls the color," Koray Aydin, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, said in a news release. "This way, we can create any color desired."

They used a narrow bandwidth that's extremely absorbent at a 97 percent maximum rate. With future research, this could mean different things for 97 potential applications of optoelectric devices controlled via bandwidth and narrow-band photodetectors and light-emitting devices.

The team demonstrated a narrow bandwidth with high absorbency at 97 percent; this could later lead to potential applications for optoelectric devices with controlled bandwidth, such as narrow-band photodetectors and light-emitting devices.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via ACS Photonics.

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