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Soap bubbles trip the light fantastic: #CLEstate Science Photo of the Month

It’s a soap foam selfie!

Andy Resnick, Ph.D., of Cleveland State University made this remarkable photograph of soap bubbles (magnified 4x) using an imaging technique known as reflection differential interference contrast.

It splits the illuminating light into two overlapping beams. The amount of separation of the beams is very slight — below the resolution limit of the lens.

“The interference of the two reflected beams results in image brightness being proportional to the surface slope,” said Dr. Resnick, assistant professor of physics at CSU.

Dark lines (“singularities”) appear where the surface slope matches the beam separation.

He used a device called a de Senarmont compensator to map the surface slope onto color, resulting in the multicolored appearance of curved surfaces.

Fine adjustment of the beam separation results in the broadest range of colors

Dr. Resnick’s photo has been featured in Physics Today and in Optics & Photonics News.

Now if only we could get this classic Don Ho song out of our heads:

photo by Andy Resnick / Cleveland State University

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