oPhysics: Interactive Physics Simulations

Select a simulation from one of the above categories or click on a category to see descriptions of the simulations for that category.


Light Mixing

Mix colors of light with adjustable brightness. Drag the circles to experiment with mixing colors of light. Use the sliders to change the light intensities.
Color Pigment Mixing

Mix colors of light with adjustable brightness. Drag the circles to experiment with mixing colors of light. Use the sliders to change the light intensities.
Polarization of Light

This is a simulation intended to help visualize polarization. A polarizing filter has a particular transmission axis and only allows light waves aligned with that axis to pass through. In this simulation unpolarized waves pass through a vertical slit, leaving only their vertical components. This vertical transverse wave approaches a vertical slit. If the slit is rotated, only a component of the wave can pass through. If the slit is rotated 90 degrees, the wave is stopped completely.
Double Slit Diffraction and Interference

This is a simulation of light being diffracted by a double slit, intended for anyone looking to learn about diffraction and interference. Use the sliders to change the wavelength of the light, the distance between the slits, the distance to the screen, and the height of the point where the waves come together on the screen. You can use the checkboxes to choose between dots representing crests or troughs on the red wave, in order to look for constructive or destructive interference
Double Slit Interference

Simple simulation of interference patterns formed during double-slit diffraction.
Thin Film Interference

This is a simulation of thin-film interference. In thin-film interference, light waves reflect of the front and back surfaces of a transparent thin-film. The two primary reflected waves interfere, sometimes constructively. Use the sliders or input boxes to adjust the index of refraction of the material in front of the thin film, the thin film, and the material behind the thin film, as well as the thickness of the thin film and the wavelength of the incoming light.
Reflection and Refraction

A basic simulation showing refraction and reflection of a light ray. This is a simple simulation showing the reflection and refraction of a ray of light as it attempts to move from one medium to another. Use the sliders to adjust the index of refraction of each of the two materials, as well as the angle of incidence (the angle between the incident ray of light and the normal to the surface). Use the check boxes to show or hide various information.
Dispersion of Light

Prism color dispersion, ala Pink Floyd. Move the white dot to change the orientation of the incident ray of white light. Use the sliders to adjust the index of refraction of the surrounding materila (n1), the red light index of refraction of the prism (nred), and the percent difference between the index of refraction of the prism for red light and the index of refraction of the prism for violet light (% Difference).
Plane Mirrors

This is a simulation of image formation in a plane mirror. Move the top or bottom of the red arrow to see the effect on the image.
Concave and Convex Mirrors

Simulation of image formation in concave and convex mirrors. Move the tip of the Object arrow or the point labeled focus. Move the arrow to the right side of the mirror to get a convex mirror.
iPad Spherical Mirror Simulation

Concave and Convex Mirror Simulation optomized for use on mobile devices.
Concave and Convex Lenses

Simulation of image formation in concave and convex lenses. Move the tip of the "Object" arrow to move the object. Move the point named " Focus' " to change the focal length. Move the point named " Focus' " to the right side of the lens to change to a concave lens.
Lens Simulation for iPad

Concave and Convex Lens Simulation optomized for mobile devices.
Lens Refraction and Spherical Aberration

Simulation of refraction and spherical aberration for lenses. This simulation shows realistic refraction of parallel rays passing through a convex lens with spherical surfaces. Unlike the Convex and Concave Lenses simulation, where all the bending occurs at the center of the lens and all parallel rays pass exactly through the focus, this simulation uses Snell's law to determine the actual amount of bending at each of the surfaces of the lens. You can adjust the amount of curvature for each side of the lens, the index of refraction of both the lens and the material surrounding the lens, and the zoom level. The fact that the parallel rays do not converge at a single point is due to spherical aberration.
Lenses & Chromatic Aberration

Simulation showing chromatic aberration of lenses. This simulation shows the bending of red and violet rays from either end of the visible spectrum as it occurs in lenses. Use the sliders to adjust the radii of the spherical lens surfaces and the index of refraction of the lens. Use the buttons to zoom in or out.
2D Image Formation by Lenses

This is another simulation showing images formed by concave and convex lenses, but this one shows the images of two dimensional objects. Many lens simulations show the images formed by a simple one dimensional object, typically an arrow. This one allows you to see the images of two dimensional objects. move the circle, triangle and quadrilateral on the left side of the lens, change their size and shape, and watch the images formed on the right side of the lens. Move the point labeled " F' " to change the focal length of the lens. Move " F' " to the right side of the lens to change from a convex to a concave lens.
Optics of the Human Eye

This is a simulation demonstrating the optics of the human eye. It also shows how various lenses can be used to correct for faulty vision. Be aware that it is a simplified version of what actually happens. In the simulation, there is no bending when light moves from the air into the eye (when most of the actual bending happens). Instead, in the simulation only the bendings that happen in the lens of the eye (or in the corrective lenses) is shown
Rainbow Formation

This simulation is intended to help students understand some of the phenomena involved during the formation of rainbows.
Rainbow Formation in 3D

This is a 3D simulation of the processes involved in the formation of a rainbow.