What Does Light See?

Students are introduced to the concept of refraction. After making sure they understand the concepts of diffraction and interference, students work collaboratively to explain optical phenomena that cannot be accounted for via these two mechanisms alone. Then, through the associated activity, students see first-hand how refraction can work with interference to produce color patterns, similar to how nanosensors work. Finally, students apply their knowledge of refraction to the original challenge question to generate a possible solution in the form of a biosensor.