What is a Prism?

In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with a flat polished surface that refracts light. Prisms can be made from any material that is transparent to the wavelengths for which they are designed. Typical materials include plastic, glass and fluorite. Following are a few applications of prism:

  • Dispersive prisms are used to break light into its constituent spectral colours
  • Prisms are used to reflect light, split light into components with different polarizations

Prisms are categorised into different types as follows:

  • Dispersive prisms
  • Reflective prisms
  • Polarizing prisms
  • Deflecting prisms

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