Artist Turns Amsterdam's Central Station into a Giant Rainbow with Liquid Crystal Technology

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 - 11:08AM
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 - 11:08AM
Artist Turns Amsterdam's Central Station into a Giant Rainbow with Liquid Crystal Technology

Liquid crystal optic technology is used for everything from slide projectors to nanotechnology to lasers to telescopes that are capable of detecting exoplanets. But now, artist Daan Roosengaarde has teamed up with scientists to create the Rainbow Station, an ambitious art installation at Amsterdam's Central Station that looks like a giant rainbow. 

 

First movie of Rainbow Station by Roosegaarde live in Amsterdam: every night for a moment. from Studio Roosegaarde on Vimeo.

 

The rainbow, which is 150 feet wide, was intended by Roosengaarde to be "a unique place for travelers, an experience you can not download." It uses a spectral filter with a film of liquid crystal. When a four-kilowatt spotlight is shone upon the filter, it refracts the white light into a perfect rainbow and projects it onto the glass facade of the station. The liquid crystal technology allows this refraction to occur with only 1% of the hues leaking from the original light source. According to North Carolina State University's Dr. Michael Escuti, a leading researchers in liquid crystal optics and one of the scientists who worked on the installation project, the Rainbow Station "actually includes many more colors than our typical smartphones and TVs can produce, or that our digital cameras can capture."

 

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

 

According to North Carolina State, the advancement of the technology was crucial to the viability of the installation: "Conventional techniques to create a rainbow, such as a prism or a regular diffraction grating, have at least one of two disqualifying limitations for this project: either the color dispersion isn't wide enough (meaning the colors would be washed out) or the majority of the light would 'leak' (meaning it would go almost anywhere but into the rainbow). But Escuti's technology puts about 99 percent of the light into the rainbow, allowing only about one percent of the light to leak out."

 

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

  

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

 

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

 

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

 

The rainbow only appears for a half-hour each night at dusk, making it a more singular experience. "The light and colour offers the fifty million travellers a year, a magical moment at night," said Roosengaarde.

 

Rainbow Station

[Credit: Studio Roosegaarde]

Science
Technology

Load Comments