Physics Lamps & Lights

Fluorescent Ooze Tube with 405nm Laser

Click these links for ooze tube sources (green works best).
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Ooze Tube 

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Ooze Tube 

Get an inexpensive 405nm laser pointer here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
(405 nm) Laser pointer 

Fluorescent Ooze Tube with Laser: stunning visual effects from a 405 nm laser pointer interacting with the viscous polyisobutene fluid in this ooze tube timer toy. The fluorescent dye converts this particular laser light frequncy to green light as the fluid stretches into thin ropes that act as light pipes while bubbles reflect and fan the beam. Perhaps the next generation Lava Lamp? 

 

Fiber Optic Cactus Lamp

Vintage fiber optic lamps like this one are available on eBay most of the time: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Fiber Optic Flower

Fiber Optic Cactus Lamp: this vintage 1980s fiber optic lamp was found at a local thrift store- and it still works! The fiber bundle is illuminated by a lamp in the base and the color shifting patterns are generated by a rotating color wheel placed between the light source and the fiber optic bundle. Fun physics at a thrift store price. 

The FluoroSphere

The kit includes the UV LED base, elegant glass sphere, and enough fluorescent gel for many repeat lights shows. 

From PyroFarms: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere

From Amazon: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere

The FluoroSphere: intricate and dynamic lights shows are produced within an elegant glass sphere as fluorescent dyes in mineral oil slowly mix into room temperature water. Ultraviolet LEDs (in the base on which the sphere rests) make the dyes glow brightly and reveal the initial nondiffusive mixing structure which includes the phenomena of drops, plumes, and other features of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Shown here, slightly sped up, is the first 8 minutes or so of the process which takes up to half an hour to mix evenly. The green light is characteristic of the famous fluorescein dye.

 


KaleidoFlow Fluid Display Cell: The Glorb

KaleidoFlow fluid and associated devices available here:

From Laminar Sciences Corp: BUY NOW: KaleidoFlow Rheoscopic Fluid

KaleidoFlow Fluid Cell: the phenomenon of streaming birefringence colorfully reveals the temporary sheer stresses induced in a liquid by a moving plastic sphere. The “Glorb” device design features a cylindrical cell with polarizing filters as the top and bottom windows and filled with this special rheoscopic fluid and a plastic bead. This assembly then slides into a base with white LEDs to supply backlighting. Many thanks to Laminar Sciences Corp for supplying this beautiful display cell and bottles of KaleidoFlow fluid for experimentation.

Infinity Mirror Lamp

Inexpensive and a few models to choose from: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Infinity Mirror Sphere Lamp 

Also sold as a lightbulb: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Infinity Mirror Firework Bulb 

Infinity Mirror Lamp: illusion of depth from multiple refections. This glass bulb sphere is partially coated inside and out with a thin metal layer. The metal layer is made thinner in a pattern of small circles to produce iridescent colors through thin-film interference effects. When lit from within by white LEDs, multiple reflections on the curved contour create the firework like spray of light and color. So much physics going on in this inexpensive novelty lamp!


Purple Plasma Globe

I found this Rick and Morty lamp on eBay:
From eBay: Search Now: Rick and Morty Plasma Globe

Similar purple globes available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Colored Plasma Globes

Purple Plasma Globe: sold as licensed Rick and Morty merchandise this globe features a glow plasma discharge that is mostly in the violet frequencies giving this device an interesting overall purple hue (probably due to argon gas in the mix). A small high frequency coil at center of these globes creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode and the metal coated glass globe. Current then flows through the thin gas, exciting the electrons in the gas molecules, producing the colorful emission spectra that emanates from the plasma tendrils.

Lava Lamp in Time-lapse

Available here in many colors and sizes: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Lava Lamps

Lava Lamp in Time-lapse: 15 minutes compressed into 15 seconds gives a different perspective on the processes involved in this classic physics toy from the 1960's. Mesmerizing physics of convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, and immiscible liquids. Manufactured by Mathmos and invented in 1963 by Edward Walker of Dorset England, the Lava Lamp is still popular today and is available in a wide range of colors. 


Frozen Lightning Lamp

Quality lightning figures are available here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW 
Lightning Lichtenberg Sculpture

Frozen Lightning Lamp: a Lichtenberg fractal created by electron discharge from a charged acrylic insulator. A piece of nonconducting acrylic is filled with electrons using a linear accelerator and then discharged to ground with a flash and bang- the figure is the permanent result. Electrons typically will not flow through an insulator, but a high velocity beam of them from a linear accelerator allows the electrons to tunnel deep into the plastic and build up a very large charge slowly. Such a large charge can then create a high enough voltage to create a breakdown arc which is hot enough to leave the fractal pattern. This piece is part of the Captured Lightning Sculptures series by Stoneridge Engineering LLC. 

Levitating Inq Lamp

Get (or give!) a Curiosity Box subscription here: JOIN NOW: The Curiosity Box

I love VSauce!
The famous YouTube team puts together 4 boxes of "brain food" each year with fantastic and surprising stuff in each- and a great way to start a science toy collection! 

Get a squish Inq the Octopus here: BUY NOW: Squish Inq or check out Inq's Shop

Levitating Inq Lamp: Inq (the curious orange octopus) hangs illuminated and suspended by magnetic forces. I modified this lamp to incorporate the squish version of the @thecuriositybox mascot with a powerful neodymium magnet on top and a smaller magnet embedded with in Inq’s head- when the octopus is floating the bottom cord engages the light switch. 


Celestial Sphere: the Stars of the Night Sky

Created by Clemens & Christoph of CinkS labs: Available in a cube too! 
From CinkS Labs: BUY NOW: Celestial Spheres

Celestial Sphere: the positions of 5068 stars as they appear in the night sky- along with 88 constellations, laser etched into a crystal sphere. This globe includes all stars of sixth magnitude or brighter- basically all the stars that the average and unaided human eye can see in the sky. The Milky Way in a Sphere: the distribution of stars in our home galaxy, laser etched into a crystal sphere, according to the most recent telescopic surveys and mappings- including the stars in the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy (a small galaxy that is simultaneously orbiting and getting absorbed into the Milky Way) and the major globular clusters outside the main disk

The Levimoon

Get a levitating moon globe lamp here! 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Levitating Moon Globe Lamp

The Levimoon: this detailed moon globe is an adjustable lamp that levitates! Charged through wireless induction via the base, the moon floats above the Earth while illuminated from the inside to reveal the major features of the lunar surface, and will rotate when given a slight push. This kind of levitation uses a control system with an adjustable electromagnet in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allows for fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. 

Lampe Kino: Polarizing Art

The amazing art of Anne-Lise King available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kino Lamp Polarizing Art Lights

Lampe Kino: Art from from the manipulation of polarized light. These videos showcase two designs by artist Anne-Lise King, and each design can itself be displayed in numerous ways depending on the orientation of the polarizing filter and the layering of plastic imaging sheets. Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors produced here come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of light that passes through- light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic in proportion to their frequency, red and blue frequencies only a small amount. The images here are constructed with different layers of plastic to rotate the light by differing amounts. Polarizing filters are then added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.


Lightning 2000 Plasma Lamp

This vintage device is often available on eBay: 
From eBay: BUY NOW 
Vintage Lightning Lamp 


A similar device is available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Blue Lightning Lamp

Lightning 2000 Plasma Lamp: low pressure noble gasses glow due to discharge from high voltage. A small high frequency coil at center creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode dome and the outer glass dome which is coated with a thin transparent film of metal. Current flow through the thin gas produces the glowing zigzagged path like that of lightning but more rounded. Shown here in 480 fps slow motion. 

Spinning Arc Plasma Lighter

Get a rechargable circular plasma ignition source here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Spinning Arc Lighter

Plasma Arc Lighter Physics: a rotating arc of plasma exceeds 1100 C (2000 F) on this flameless lighter. The breakdown voltage of air is about 3000 Volts per mm. Thus the circuit in the lighter must provide about 12,000 volts to produce this 4mm arc. The circuit involves a transformer with very fine wire windings, a transistor, and a powerful lithium-ion battery (USB rechargeable). The circuit produces high frequency current oscillations in the coils that in turn produce the needed high voltage- basically a Tesla coil for your pocket! 

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