KYM COX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KYM COX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Iridescence is the ability of certain surfaces to change colour depending on the angle of light refraction or reflection, or the angle of view. The colours are due to interference of light waves reflected from the upper and lower surfaces of the soap bubble film. The interference patterns appear as bands of colour, related to the thickness of the film. Thicker walls cause interference at longer (redder) wavelengths, so appear bluer and greener. As the film thins by evaporation and draining, the reflected light cancels out yellow then green then blue light, appearing blue, magenta and golden yellow, before becoming too thin to support itself, and popping.
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