Student handout: Visualizing Plane Waves

Each small group of 3-4 students is given a white board or piece of paper with a square grid of points on it.

Each group is given a different two-dimensional vector \(\vec{k}\) and is asked to calculate the value of \(\vec{k} \cdot \vec {r}\) for each point on the grid and to draw the set of points with constant value of \(\vec{k} \cdot \vec{r}\) using rainbow colors to indicate increasing value.

What students learn Geometric understanding of what's planar about plane waves.

On your whiteboard, there should be a 5x5 square grid of dots. The instructor will draw a specific vector \(\vec{k}\) on your grid.

For your \(\vec{k}\), connect dots with the same value of \(\vec{k} \cdot \vec{r}\).

Learning Outcomes