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Summer Science Exhibition 2016 | Monday 4 July - Sunday 10 July | London

The 100m bubbles

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Make your own spectroscope to see how light reflects from thin films.  
  • Handle hollow optical fibres and see how they’re made.  
  • Using a microscope, see how our hollow fibres guide different colours of light.

Find out more 

To channel low power laser light to where it is needed we often use flexible glass threads, known as fibre optics. But it is more difficult to steer powerful laser beams, because they can cut through these solid glass fibres. This exhibit showcases our innovative solution to trap and channel these high-powered lasers using the most delicate glass bubbles.

We created hollow-core fibres made up of a ring of glass bubbles that are thinner than a strand of hair and more than 100m long. When a powerful laser is sent through the fibre, any light that hits the bubbles’ surface is reflected off, confining it in the hollow core. When you see light reflecting from the surface of a soap bubble, the different colours arise from different thicknesses of the soap film. Similarly, we can carefully control the wall thickness of the glass bubbles in our fibres to transport different colour lasers.

Find out more at or join the community at activities

Presented by: University of Bath and Heriot Watt University

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