ShaanK
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 10:42 pm
Occupation: Student

### Measuring Sugar Content of a Liquid with a Laser Pointer

Hey in the measuring sugar content of a liquid with a laser pointer project I was wondering if it's possible to instead use a semicircular prism instead of a triangular prism to measure the index of refraction. Any help will be greatly appreciated

Thanks - Shaan

theborg
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Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:26 pm
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### Re: Measuring Sugar Content of a Liquid with a Laser Pointer

ShaanK,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the question. I think you have a good idea here. If you have a semicircular prism that you can fill with a sugar solution.

With the prism empty and you shine the laser exactly normal to the flat side then it should not refract at all and the beam should exit exactly opposite on the curved side. we'll call that 0 degrees. If you then fill the prism with your solutions then shining the laser exactly normal to the flat side again, any angle deviation of the beams exit away from 0 degrees is the angle of minimum deviation (step 21 in the project procedures), which can be input directly into the equation for index of refraction at step 22.

Please note, however, that the alignment of the experimental set up will be far more crucial than with a triangular prism. Unless the alignment of the laser and prism is perfect, any deviation, however small, off the exact centre point will result in systematic errors. A triangular prism is far less susceptible to these errors because as long as you can duplicate the angle of the laser beam to the surface of the prism and it strikes somewhere along that surface it will refract within the prism structure and strike it on another flat surface allowing a measurement.
Hope this helps.

theborg
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ShaanK
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 10:42 pm
Occupation: Student

### Re: Measuring Sugar Content of a Liquid with a Laser Pointer

Thanks, a bit late the projects finished but did help me confirm my method was valid