Optical Properties of Sugar Glass

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Sugar, like silicates, can be heated to molten temperatures and become glass once cooled. Confectioneries use a mixture of several sugars to create hard candies, and a sugar glass is another name for this. Sugar glass, like traditional glass, cools and solidifies into a transparent material. Depending on ingredients used or the range the sugar was cooked for, its properties change. If the sugar syrup was left too long and went past its hard-crack stage, then the resulting sugar would be caramel, with a sugar concentration of 100%. For this study, optical properties of sugar glass were investigated. Optically, the sugar glass behaved similarly to that of commercial glass. Light, from a blue and red laser, could interact with the surface of the glass to generate predictable outcomes. The glass could interact with its own version of a sheet of light with the help of a cylindrical lens. It is achievable to create a diffraction grating out of sugar glass because of its similar behavior to that of glass. The diffraction grating sheet’s grooves transferred over to the sugar glass when used as a mold. Waves of visible color, at its respective wavelength, were observable when shining white light. However, because of the grating’s defining qualities, that of specific sized and spaced apart grooves, it was not achievable using homemade diffraction grating molds. It would require proper tools to embed such surface topography.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Glass Engineering, Sugar Glass, Chemistry