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Picture of A Simple Spectroscope

This activity will be useful for teachers and students alike.

If you teach science to younger students, or are in charge of physical science activities, this simple project will be a helpful hands-on teaching tool that will allow you to introduce several topics, including:

- Electromagnetic Radiation (Light)

- Diffraction

- Emission & Absorption

- Emission Spectra

Students can have a tangible example of the lesson to experiment with while you explain what they see.

Also, if you are a student looking for a simple but not too common science project, you can use this one!

Step 1: Materials for the Spectroscope

Picture of Materials for the Spectroscope

The Materials you will need to build the spectroscope are:

- Cardboard Box

- Metal Tape. Also called aluminum tape, and can be bought at a home improvement store.

- Box Cutter

- Diffraction Grating. A pack of several of these diffraction grating slides are available on amazon for $13.

You will also want these few things (not in picture):

scissors, scotch tape, a ruler, and a pen/sharpie.

SHOE00074 months ago
Yeah the real spectrometers on Prolab or Boreal go for a min of 500 dollars so this is a good idea. I love this idea as a project. Did you try other salts like Barium? Like barium carbonate yes it is quite toxic but proper handling avoids that issue.
SHOE0007 SHOE00074 months ago
C8theGr8 (author)  SHOE00074 months ago
No, I didn't have barium carbonate. As a student, it can be difficult to gain access to toxic chemicals for a personal project. :)
Just a note, I wouldn't replace a real spectrometer with this one because it doesn't read specific wavelengths. If you don't need to, this is fine. If you could find a way to get it to do that, though, that would be awesome.
C8theGr8 (author) 4 months ago
If you are a contest judge I would like to note that I could really use a 3D printer. I have a novel invention design for inexpensive x-ray generation that could use 3D printed parts. However, I am also a student and cannot afford a 3D printer at the moment.
hichm4 months ago
Hi C8theGr8, Nice project as a cheap spectroscope, but what's the distance between the is diffraction greeting and the vertical hole? and the size of the vertical hole? and can i use an old webcam in place of the diffraction grating?
i hope you will stay creative C8theGr8, and Thank you for sharing our knowledge to us.
C8theGr8 (author)  hichm4 months ago
Thank you! The distance between the diffraction grating and the vertical hole just depends on the box that you use. It shouldn't affect what you see too much. You can't replace the diffraction grating with a webcam, because the diffraction grating is what splits the light into the rainbow-like emission spectrum. You can certainly find a way to attach/mount a webcam directly behind the diffraction grating slide, though, to capture any cool spectra you might see.
C8theGr8 (author) 4 months ago
Any questions are welcomed!