This problem involves the interference of light in thin films. It is because the oil forms a film on top of the water. We'll need several equations from thin-film interference.
Constructive interference (for reflected light):
An oil tanker spills a large amount of oil (n = 1.45) into the sea (n = 1.33).
A. If you look down on the oil spill from overhead, what predominant wavelength of light do you see at a point where the oil is 380nm thick? What color is the light?
B. In the water under the oil slick, what visible wavelength (as measured in air) is predominant in the transmitted light at the same place in the slick as in part A?
(air refractive index = 1.00029)
(oil refractive index = 1.45)
(water refractive index = 1.33)
Frequently Asked Questions
What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?
Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the !! Thin-Film Interference concept. If you need more !! Thin-Film Interference practice, you can also practice !! Thin-Film Interference practice problems.