In the field of optics, a prism is an object made of glass or other transparent material with flat, polished surfaces.

  • Prisms are often used for experimental purposes to study the refraction and dispersion of light.
  • A triangular prism consists of two triangular ends and three rectangular faces.
  • If white light is to be refracted or dispersed by a prism into its component colours a narrow beam is pointed towards one of the rectangular faces.
  • Dispersive prisms are used to break up light into its constituent spectral colours.
  • Reflective prisms are used to reflect light, in order to flip or invert a light beam.
  • Triangular reflective prisms are a common component of cameras, binoculars and microscopes.