School Physics Notes: Visible spectrum-colour 6. Effect of visible light filters
Visible spectrum and colour: 6. Visible light filters and the observed colour of objects illuminated by variety of light colours
Doc Brown's Physics exam study revision notes
6. Visible light filters and the observed colour of objects subjected illuminated by variety of light colours
How does a light filter work to produce particular colours?
Why are stained glass windows a complex mixture of light filters?
The diagram is presented in terms of primary and secondary colours only, but the principles described below apply to all the 'intermediate' colours.
Transparent materials allow some of visible light through
Colour filters are so called because they only let some light wavelengths through, but the image is not distorted.
A colour filter absorbs some colours from white light but allows your desired colours to be transmitted.
A basic set of six filters is illustrated above.
1 to 3 are primary colour filters because they only allow the transmission of one of the three primary colour band of wavelengths - red, green and blue on passing a beam of white light through them.
4 to 6 are secondary colour filters because they allow two of the three primary colours through to produce a secondary colour AND the colour of the filter itself. Looking at the spectrum diagram above, you can see all the primary and secondary colours somewhere in the spectrum.
By using various coloured mineral pigments or organic molecule pigments you can produce any shade or any colour you desire.
Stained glass windows use mineral pigments that absorb or transmit particular visible light wavelengths so when light streams through you see a selection of bright colours. A stained glass window is essentially a complex arrangement of visible light filters.
St Mary's RC Cathedral, Newcastle - stained glass window of the industrial heritage of north-east England
A wonderful masterpiece of the art of stained glass windows.
Many of the pigments are based on coloured transition metal compounds.
Now that's what you call a light filter display from stained glass window panels! (medieval Chester Cathedral)
I love the 'red devil' in this medieval stained glass window, St Martin-le-Grand Church, York, England
Medieval monks were skilled at mixing mineral pigments to colour the glass - very expensive work!
They made good use of all the primary colours of red, green and blue and the secondary colour yellow.
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