Colorful Bubbles

Thin Film Iridescence

Light Wave - An electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength whether it is visible or not. It is made up of oscillating electric and magnetic fields.

The light is coming from whatever light source is in the room you're in. Ours is specifically fluorescent white light, which is what reflects with the bubble and causes our eyes to see the colors on the bubbles.

Wavelength - The distance between crests of a wave. They are measured from one compression to the next in meters.

Depending on the light sources there will be different wavelengths of light waves coming to the bubbles. We see many different colors because of all the different wavelengths of light waves.

Frequency - The number of wavelengths per second, usually measured in Hertz.

Because of the different frequencies we will have different wavelengths. If the frequency changes, the wavelength will also change, causing the different colors to appear.

Amplitude - The maximum displacement or distance moved by a point on a wave moving up and down, and is measured from its equilibrium position.

Amplitude determines how bright the light is. The brighter the light is the more colorful bubble you will produce.

Thin Film Iridescence - The interaction of light waves reflected from the top surface of a thin film with those which penetrate the film and are reflected from the back surface of the film.

This is interference and is caused by waves of light interacting with each other to make constructive reinforcements or destructive cancellations of the waves. This produces the colors seen on oil slicks in water or on bubbles. The oils and bubbles are colorless, but when present as a thin film on another material they produce colors. These colors are referred to as thin film interference (iridescence) colors.

Gravity- The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass.

If you pick up the pink bubble stick and hold it vertically, you will be able to see this in action. So first, pick it up and hold it vertically into some sort of light source. Next, you need to watch the solution being pulled towards the ground. As it starts to drop, you will be able to see colorful lines at the top of this bubble solution. This is because it is getting thinner and thinner at the top of the solution.

Constructive Interference- A type of interference that occurs at any location along the medium where the two interfering waves have a displacement in the same direction.

You can only see some colors from the rainbow because when the colors come in contact with each other, they either stack on top of each other and build up lots of that color, or they cancel eachother out. This is why we see lots of greens and pinks because they go on each other. We don't see red and yellow as much because when those colors come in contact with each other they cancel out and we don't see them.