Software for Teaching through Interactive Demonstrations about Converging Lenses

Pavlos Mihas


In this paper, Software is presented for teaching through interactive demonstrations about lenses. At first we explore lenses constructed by two spherical surfaces. We explore the ray diagrams and wave fronts. Then there is a page for understanding the thick lens model. We introduce a step by step procedure to find the focal length and find the principal planes and finally the use of the focal length and principal points to construct the image. There is a page for finding the position of the image not by the formula but by the method we use on an actual experiment: We move the screen back and forth until we can get the sharpest possible image. This is done by finding the minimum of a standard deviation of the position of the rays for a given position of the screen. Then there is a simulation of an experiment for finding the focal length. This uses a macro to simulate the finding of several image points b for several object points a. These values are used first in the graphical representation of the image point as a function of b and the image points as a function of a. With suitable least square fits we get two lines with parameters that give values for the focal length and principal plane. Then there is a simulation of two experiments of finding the focal length of a lens. The spreadsheet calculates the distance b vs a, the image y, and there ar graphs of y as a function of a and y as a function of b from which we find 1) a hyperbolic fit for y vs a and a linear fit for y vs b from which we calculate the focal distance, 2) it calculates 1/a and 1/b and then finds a linear fit and a parabolic fit for the data. Also we get the same parameters by finding the cuts of lines uniting the point (a,0) and (0,b).. 3) there is a plot of a+b vs a and then the points are fitted with a hyperbola whose asymptotes give the sum of focal length and principal planes. Then there is a page where we can see two lenses for which the shape can change to have a perfect focusing at a given distance. These two lenses are based on Huygens’ ideas, Spherical and Huygen Lenses.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Pavlos Mihas

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.   ISSN 2474-4972 (Print)    ISSN 2474-4980 (Online)