Microwave Optics: Basic System

Microwave Optics: Basic System

WA-9314C   - 

The basic system is built around a Gunn Diode Transmitter and receiver, and is designed to aid students in understanding and visualizing electromagnetic wave interactions.
Advanced Microwave Optics System

Advanced Microwave Optics System

WA-9316A   - 

This Advanced System adds accessories to the Basic Microwave Optics System, enabling students to perform Brewster's Angle and Bragg Diffraction experiments.
Microwave Accessory Package

Microwave Accessory Package

WA-9315   - 

Includes a polyethylene panel for measuring Brewster's angle and a simulated crystal for Bragg diffraction.


The Microwave Optics Advantage

To a beginning student, the relationship be­tween a simple wave on a string and the complicated interactions of optics can be hard to grasp. PASCO's answer is microwave optics. There are advantages to studying optical phenomena at microwave frequencies. Using a 3-cm microwave wavelength radically changes the scale of the experiment. Microns become centimeters and variables obscured by the small scale of traditional optics experiments are easily seen and manipulated. PASCO's Microwave Optics System takes full advantage of these large-scale benefits. The large wavelength makes it easy to understand and visualize electromagnetic wave inter-actions. Interference and diffraction slits are several centimeters wide, and polarizers are slotted sheets of Stainless Steel.

Optics and Waves

Most traditional optics experiments can be performed with this Microwave Optics System: from determining the laws of reflection and refraction to investigating polarization effects to examining the phenomena of diffraction and double-slit interference. Basic wave experiments can also be performed. Students can investigate standing waves be­tween two reflectors, locating nodes and antinodes. Combining these experiments can establish a clear parallel between electromagnetic wave interactions and mechanical wave theory.


  • Diffraction Slit Hardware -- Spacers and holders for performing interference experiments.
  • Ethafoam® Prism with Styrene Pellets -- Used for refraction of microwaves. The index of refraction of styrene is determined.
  • Rotating Mounts -- The transmitter and receiver rotate through a full 360° (an important feature for polarization experiments).
  • Gunn Diode Transmitter -- A stable, low-voltage source of linearly polarized microwaves (10.5 GHz; 15 mW).
  • 18 cm High Mounts -- Minimize tabletop reflections for improved accuracy.
  • Receiver with a Built-in Amplifier -- Variable sensitivity ensures clear data, even for low-intensity measurements (Bragg diffraction and Brewster's angle).
  • Long-Arm Goniometer -- For easy setup and alignment. The built-in degree and millimeter scales ensure accurate measurements.
  • Magnetic Mounting -- All components mount magnetically. Setup is quick and accurate.
  • Durable Construction -- Parts are made of stainless steel or die-cast aluminum.


  Microwave Optics: Basic System
Advanced Microwave Optics System
Microwave Accessory Package
Gunn Diode Transmitter with mounting stand
Receiver with built-in amplifier and mounting stand
Goniometer with fixed and rotatable arms and degree scale
Fixed-arm assembly for interferometer experiments
Component holders: two standard, one rotating
Rotating table
Reflectors: two full reflectors (metal), two partial reflectors (wood)
Polarizers (two)
Diffraction slit hardware (holders and spacers)
Prism (Ethafoam) with styrene pellets
AC adapter
Laboratory manual with 12 ready-to-use experiments
An explanation of the physical principles with all relevant equations
Illustrations for easy setup
Step-by-step instructions
Questions and data tables in a worksheet format
Teacher's guide with answers and typical results
Simulated Crystal Lattice
Polyethylene Panel

How It Works

The heart of the Microwave Optics System is the Gunn Diode Transmitter and receiver. The transmitter is a low voltage source of linearly polarized microwaves (10.5 GHz; 15 mW). As the microwaves are reflected, refracted, diffracted or directed through polarizers, the receiver can detect and measure the intensity of the microwaves at various positions beyond the transmitter. The receiver has a built-in amplifier as well as a variable sensitivity scale, ensuring accurate data for even the lowest intensity measurements.

Buying Guide

Microwave Accessory Package
Microwave Detector Probe
Product Name Part Number Price Qty. Select
Microwave Accessory Package   WA-9315
Microwave Detector Probe   WA-9319A
Replacement Parts
Microwave Transmitter
Microwave Receiver
Microwave Mounting Stand
Product Name Part Number Price Qty. Select
Microwave Transmitter   WA-9801
Microwave Receiver   WA-9800A
Microwave Mounting Stand (2 required)   WA-9802