Physics Lamps & Lights

Variable Hue Lamp

This fairly inexpensive hue lamp is made by IKEA and is available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
DIODER Variable Color Lamp 


Explore the physics of light and color with this excellent kit: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Thames & Kosmos Optical Science Kit

Variable Hue Lamp: Seeing color is both about the source of illumination and the reflective and absorptive properties of the observed object. These colorful images look drastically different as this illumination source cylces through a wide range of hues via variable mixtures of red, green, and blue wavelengths. A demonstration that explores some of the complexities underlying the physics and psychophysics of color vision. 

Diffractive Optical Element

Amazing application of high resolution far field holograms. The only available source I know of for projection holograms at this high resolution is this supplier of industrial samples 
From MaterialSampleShop.com: Diffractive Optical Element Sample 

Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $20 (including S&H): 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer

Diffractive Optical Element: images produced by constructive and deconstructive interference of coherent laser light. The patches of microstructure on the surface of this transparent plastic are far field holograms- transmission holograms, but with the image at infinity. Side by side images from two different laser wavelengths (red 635 nm, green 520 nm) shows clearly the red image is larger than the green since diffraction angle is proportional the wavelength. So much physics here!

In-Feed Google 2


Neon Flicker Flame Skull Bulb

Often these are sold on eBay:
From eBay: Search NOW Flicker Skull Bulbs 

and these old fashion flicker bulbs look great with the diffration glasses:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Flicker Flame Neon Bulb 

The diffraction effect glasses used here is this kind: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Diffraction Glasses

Neon Flicker Flame Skull Bulb: no flame but instead emission spectra from excited neon gas due to the presence of a discharge electric current. The breakdown voltage of a gas (the minimum voltage needed for a current to flow) depends on the pressure of the gas in the bulb. The flickering effect comes about because the current flow will increase the temperature near it, which raises the pressure and affects the breakdown voltage near the current- so the glow from one area can only last as long as it takes to heat up and raise the breakdown voltage which kills the current in that area. In other physics, a diffraction grating shows that neon only emits light in specific wavelengths- mostly reds and yellows at AC house voltages.

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? 

 

Star Wars Mouse Ears

Get a set of high tech ears here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Star Wars Mickey Ears

From eBay: BUY NOW Star Wars Mickey Ears

Mickey Mouse Physics: the Millennium Falcon battles TIE fighters in a three panel animation printed on layers of optical acrylic. Red, green, and blue LEDs switch on and off lighting the layers sequentially in a loop producing the animated scene from Star Wars. Light from the LED attached to a specific layer undergoes multiple internal reflections as it passes through the clear plastic illuminating mostly that layer- the same principle employed in fiber optic cables. Disney + Lucasfilm = mouse ears of the future! 


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!


Magnetic Suspension Lamp

Available for under $100 US: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Magnetic Suspension Lamp 

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Magnetic Suspension Lamp 

Magnetic Suspension Lamp: not only does this lamp defy gravity, the LEDs in the bulb are powered through wireless induction (no batteries needed). 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. If this lamp design is unplugged (or the power goes off) the bulb assembly does not fall, but instead snaps onto the upper armature via strong permanent magnets embedded within. Amazing physics demonstrated by clever engineering! 

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.


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. 


Tricolor Plasma Globe with Glow Wand

Get a globe and glow wand here:

From Aurora Plasma Designs: BUY NOW: Globes and Glow Wands

Click here for other amazing: Glow Discharge Designs

Tricolor Plasma Globe and Glow Wand: an engineered mix of low pressure noble gasses exhibit three colors of glow discharge in the plasma filaments that rise upward due to heating. A separate glass wand has a different gas mixture and phosphor coated beads that glow when in contact with the globe. A small high frequency coil at center creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode and the metal coated glass globe. Current flow through the thin gas produces the colorful emission spectra from the gasses. 

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.