Gabriel Lippmann


Gabriel Lippmann won the 1908 physics Nobel Prize "for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference.” Lippmann, an inventor, created a color photographic plate. The plate consists of a glass pane coated with a photosensitive layer of gelatin emulsion, silver nitrate, and potassium bromide. The other side of the glass pane is coated with a layer of mercury to make it highly reflective. The light from an object strikes the plate and bounces back and forth between the front and back of the glass plate, and setting up standing wave pattern that interacts with the photosensitive emulsion. After development, the mercury layer is removed and a highly absorptive coating is applied the back of the plate. When light illuminates the front of the plate, the original colors are reflected back by the emulsion and the others are absorbed.