Introduction: Laser Sandbox - Experiments With Beams

About: I am a researcher leading quantum optics labiratory. Previously I was working on development of optical atomic clocks. Electronics is my hobby since childhood when my uncle was bringing me old phones to play a…

Where art meets Physics: colorful lasers, rotating mirrors, prisms, reflections, fog, electric motors.

This interactive artwork was visited by about 2000 visitors during events: Noire Blanche and Science night, 2015, in Riga, Latvia. (Baltā nakts, Zinātnieku nakts 2015).

Design and construction by Toms Jaunzemis, Misa secondary school, Latvia
Laser physicist Janis Alnis, University of Latvia
Art teacher Ilze Kupča, Art centre „Trīs krāsas”
Sponsors Riga city council

Art people need to be good in physics to know about different effects that they can use in their designs! This artwork allows to repeat physics about mirrors that the angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence. Mechanical analogy is a billiard table. Rotating mounts in some way resemble roulette in a casino as one can not predict where exactly they will stop.

Putting on red googles can see only red beam and not the green and blue because red plastic acts like a filter and allows only red color to pass while absorbing other colors. Beams become wider as ordinary mirrors are used with metal behind the glass and there are weaker reflections from glass surface too.

This is not a toy - be aware about eye safety! Use polarisers on the laser beams to attenuate them to 1 mW intensity.

The attached pdf file describes how to make such laser sandbox.