In Amsterdam’s Central Station, this spectacular rainbow will be displayed until December 2015, commemorating both the 125th anniversary of the station along with the 2015 UNESCO ‘Year of the Light.’
Every evening just after sunset this evening, you may happen to catch this brilliant rainbow. A project developed by D. Roosegaarde and astronomers at the University of Leiden, the Rainbow Station installation relies on the latest in liquid crystal technology.
To create the effect, a four-kilowatt spotlight projects the rainbow through a custom-designed liquid crystal spectral filter developed by NC State researcher Michael Escuti and ImagineOptix Corporation. This ‘spectral filter’ takes in bright white light and turns it into a rainbow by ‘dispering’ the colours in a highly efficient and precise way.
The vibrancy of this rainbow could not have been achieved using a conventional method of rainbow projection. Methods such as diffraction grating for example have the potential to blind train drivers and passengers while other traditional methods such as shining light through a prism would have resulted in a washed out looking rainbow because of the large amount of light that would ‘leak’ away.
Escuti’s liquid crystal technology however ensures 99% of the light is directed into the rainbow, with about only 1% of the light ‘leaking out’. The technology was originally developed for research on exoplanets (i.e. planets that orbit stars other than the sun) but for the next year will be lighting up central station.