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Appl Opt. 2001 Mar 20;40(9):1548-58.

Experimental observation of rainbow scattering by a coated cylinder: twin primary rainbows and thin-film interference.

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  • 1Department of Physics, St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, Maryland 20686, USA. cladler@osprey.smcm.edu


We experimentally examine the primary rainbow created by the illumination of a coated cylinder. We present a simple technique for varying the coating thickness over a wide range of values, and we see evidence for two different scattering regimes. In one, where the coating thickness is large, twin rainbows are produced. In the second, where the coating is thin enough to act as a thin film, a single rainbow is produced whose intensity varies periodically as the coating thickness varies. We find good agreement with previous theoretical predictions.

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