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Full text of "Scientific Papers - Vi"

1912]         ON  DEPARTURES FROM  FRESNEL'S LAWS  OF REFLEXION
95
end closer and closer upon the ray of equal index, and ultimately there is a very sharp transition between this region and the hand which now looks very dark. On the other side the reflexion revives, but more gradually, and becomes very copious in the orange and red. On this side the reflexion is not technically total. If the prism be now turned so that the angle of incidence is moderate, it is found that, in spite of the equality of index for the most luminous part of the spectrum, there is a pretty strong reflexion of a candle-flame, and apparently without colour. With the aid of sunlight it was proved that in the reflexion at moderate incidences there was no marked chromatic selection, and in all probability the blackness of the band in the yellow at grazing incidences is a matter of contrast only. Indeed, calculation shows that according to Fresnel's formulae, the reflexion would be nearly insensible for all parts of the spectrum when the index is adjusted for the yellow." It was further shown that the reflexion could be reduced, but not destroyed, by re-polishing or treatment of the surface with hydrofluoric acid.
I have lately thought it desirable to return to these experiments under the impression that formerly I may not have been sufficiently alive to the irregular behaviour of glass surfaces which are in contact with the °atmosphere.
1 wished also to be able to observe the transmitted as well as the reflected light.    A  cell was  prepared from a tin-plate cylinder  3 inches long and
2 inches in diameter by closing the ends with glass plates cemented on with glue and treacle.    Within was the glass plate to be experimented on, of similar dimensions, so as to be nearly a fit.    A hole in the cylindrical wall allowed  the liquid to be poured in and out.    Although the plate looked good and had been well wiped, I was unable to reproduce the old effects; or, for a time, even  to satisfy myself that I could attain the right composition of the liquid.    Afterwards a clue was found in the spectra formed by the edges of the plate (acting as prisms) when the cell was slewed round. The subject of observation was a candle  placed  at a moderate  distance. When the adjustment of indices is correct for any ray, the corresponding part of the spectrum is seen in the same direction as is the undispersed candle-flame by rays which have passed outside the plate.    Either spectrum may be used, but the best for the purpose is that formed by the edge nearer the eye.    There was now no difficulty in adjusting the index for the yellow ray, and the old effects ought to have manifested themselves; but they did not.    The reflected image showed little deficiency in the yellow, although the incidence was  nearly grazing, while at moderate angles  it was fairly bright and without colour.    This considerable departure from Fresnel's laws could only be attributed to a not very thin superficial modification of the glass rendering it optically different from the interior.
In order to allow of the more easy removal and replacement of the plate under examination, an altered arrangement was introduced, in which the