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Optical Light Bench

An optical light bench is used to explore what happens to light passing through lenses. Below you can see what you would need to make an optical bench: a flashlight as the source of light, a lens mounted on a piece of cardboard, and a piece of cardboard to serve as a screen. The ruler is used to measure distances between the light, lens, and the screen. This light bench has a convex lens and the flashlight has a cutout shape of an arrow attached to its lens.

Click on the flashlight, lens, or screen to move them to different positions until the arrow is clearly focused on the screen.

A convex lens causes light rays to converge or come together. It can focus light and project an image. When light rays pass through the lens, the top rays are projected down and the bottom rays are projected up. This is why the image of the arrow on the screen is pointing in the opposite direction than the arrow on the flashlight. You can see how light rays are focused by convex lenses at our Convex Lens Interactive Java Tutorial.

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