- 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.