Optics Discovery Kit
Optical Society of America

Lenses | Filters | Hologram | Optical Fiber | Grating | Polarizers | Mirror | Prism


Various types of lenses are found in the Optics Discovery Kit. Lens A on the left is a double convex lens with a long focal length. Lens B is also a double convex lens, but it has a shorter focal length. Lens C, on the right, is a double concave lens.

Fresnel Lens

This type of lens is called a Fresnel lens, named after Augustin Fresnel, a French scientist who first developed this type of light-weight lens for lighthouses.

Visit the Fresnel Lens Module for further exploration.


These are the four color filters found in your Optics Discovery Kit. Which one transmits the most light? Which the least?


There are several different holograms scattered throughout the Kits. The hologram on the left is depicting a model of a complex molecule. On the right is a hologram of a silver dollar. Check out the Hologram Module in PiN.

Optical Fiber

Optical fibers are being used extensively in the telecommunications world; in fact, most of our phone lines have been replaced by optical fibers. Included in the Kit is a small section of fiber. Look through one end of the fiber while you shine a light into the other end.

Diffraction Grating

The diffraction grating in the Optics Discovery Kit can be used to break white light into a spectrum. Try looking through the grating at a bright light source. Be sure you have the correct orientation!


Most light is polarized in some direction. Polarizers transmit only that light which is oriented in a certain way. As you can see above, if you turn polarizers 90 to each other, they will transmit little or no light.


We use mirrors so often that we usually take them for granted. The mirror in the Optics Discovery Kit is made of a special material called mylar which has been aluminized, much like regular glass mirrors. This mirror, however, can be bent into both a convex and a concave shape.


The prism enclosed in your kit, is not actually a part of the Optics Discovery Kit made by the Optical Society of America, but we added it because we believe it to be an interesting and useful tool in the study of light and optics. We can use the prism, like the diffraction grating to break white light into a spectrum.

To order Optics Discovery Kits from the OSA, contact the

Technical Activities Manager
Optical Society of America
2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Light & Optics
PiN Homepage

Color & Spectrum
Optics in Nature

Copyright &copy1995 Steve Beeson, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287
Optics Discovery Kit Copyright &copy1990 Optical Society of America, Inc. All rights reserved.