The subfield of optics in which light propagation is approximated in terms of rays. It mainly includes reflection and refraction on surfaces.

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Examples in which the light maximizes the optical path length

I posted a similar question about geodesics on Math.SE. Many sources (Wikibooks for instance) claim that the light could maximize the optical path length in some cases. But I don't think it's actually ...
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2answers
174 views

How do a microscope's optics expose defects in the user's vision?

I've got cataracts in both eyes. My vision is correctable to 20/30, so the cataracts are essentially a non-issue in daily living. But when I use a microscope, which I do daily, (binocular, zoom ...
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2answers
3k views

Bi-convex vs. plano-convex lenses

As I understand, less spherical aberration is obtained when a collimated beam is focused with a plano-convex lens as opposed to a biconvex lens. What would be a situation when a bi-convex lens should ...
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1answer
28 views

Position dependent refractive index [duplicate]

How to determine the angle of refraction when the medium has position dependent refraction index? Lets say that the angle of incidence on the glassy slab is $\theta_1$ and the ray goes through the ...
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1answer
64 views

Determining the path of a light ray

Let's consider a ray in the plane $xy$. Let the refractive index be defined in any point of the plane with the function $n(x,y)$. In time $t=0$ the ray is located in coordinates $(x_0, y_0)$ and its ...
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3answers
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Why Does Passing Light Through a Slit Make it Coherent?

Related: Why incoherent source of waves have to be passed though a single slit for double slit interference pattern to occur? If you have a an incoherent light source, why does passing it through a ...
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2answers
421 views

Magnification in compound microscope

I was studying about compound microscope here I don't see why we multiply linear magnification of objective with angular magnification of eyepiece. Shouldn't it be both angular or both linear? Can ...
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3answers
5k views

Software for geometrical optics

Is there any good software for construction optical path's in geometrical optics. More specifically I want features like: draw $k \in \mathbb{N}$ objects $K_1,\dots,K_n$ with indices of refraction ...
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2answers
406 views

Finding the illuminance from a triangular light source

Since most light sources in games are point-like, it's pretty difficult to approximate area light sources with point sources. As triangles are a universal form to represent 3D models (thus area light ...
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1answer
32 views

How is angle measured by telescope in spectrometer is twice the prism angle [closed]

While measuring the angle of the prism with the help of telescope in a spectrometer (see figure below), the observed angle is twice the angle of the prism. Can someone prove it geometrically? Edit : ...
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1answer
54 views

Why the image is being formed at the surface?

Last week I encountered a very cool optical phenomenon. A photo was sandwiched between the two glass plate to make the paperweight. The cool part is the picture seems to have been pasted on the top ...
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0answers
47 views

How does light manage to change its course at the boundary of two media of different optical densities?

This is a conceptual question. I already know the law of refraction but I need something like an idea of the Physical process from both particle and wave theory standpoints. Why does a ray of light ...
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0answers
27 views

About Powell lens

I am a Post graduation student and I am doing a project on the conversion of a Gaussian beam into a flat top beam using optical components. I have found that the best component to do the same is a ...
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0answers
15 views

Is the focal length of a thin convex lens always less than the radius of curvature?

For a convex lens, would the focal length always be less than the radius of curvature? How does the focal length vary as a function of the refractive index of the lens and the radius of curvature?
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0answers
30 views

Rayleigh length determination for Laguerre-Gaussian Modes

Recently I have measured the Rayleigh length of a Gaussian electron beam probe in a scanning electron microscope, using the function: $$w(z) = w_0 \times \sqrt{1 + (z/z_r)^2}$$ Where $w$ is beam ...
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0answers
23 views

geometric ray tracing

I'm using matlab for tracing rays in 3D through an optical system. I have a 3D prism which its yz cross section is a parabola, and its xz cross section is flat. It has non negligible thickness. I know ...
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1answer
147 views

Apparent depth and virtual image position

Why does the virtual image appear right on top of the object and not a little to the right, for example? Is it explained by some formula or just symmetry of the geometry?
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1answer
66 views

Refraction of light marching band analogy

When trying to understand the refraction of light when it hits a slower medium, lots of people seem to be enlightened by the 'marching band' or 'marching soldiers' analogy, which 'explains' that when ...
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1answer
88 views

Options to correct rectangular laser beam profile?

We recently switched to a 405 nm laser diode which has a terrible beam profile -- it is a well-defined rectangle with an aspect ratio of about 10:1. The image below shows the collimated beam which ...
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1answer
94 views

Reflection in a cylindrical mirror

Suppose I have a completely cylindrical surface which is silvered on the inside. I want to know what type of reflection takes place when an object is placed inside the ring. Does infinite reflections ...
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1answer
55 views

Light absorption for different liquid

when I was working on a cylindrical glassy bottle that filled with water, I found that the initial light intensity is less than the final light intensity. (It's clear but I experiment this) This is ...
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0answers
24 views

Fresnel coefficient

I dont think I have enough backgrounds for optics. I am sorry for asking this elementary question. I am reading a paper Phyc Rev A, Vol 59 # 6, 1999 they introduces discontinuity matrix ...
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1answer
39 views

Can a virtual image created by a mirror have position in front of the mirror?

I dont think so, because then the rays will intersect and the image will be real. Please let me know if you know a case in which a virtual image is formed in front of the mirror.
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0answers
112 views

How to calculate desired light path in continuous medium with gradient refraction index

See the Figure below. $O:(0,0)$ is the disk center of light source $\odot{O}$ with radius $3$. Then the profile light rays of disk $O$ from the view point $B:(-14,0)$ is defined by segments $DB$ ...
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0answers
56 views

Interpreting Seidel Aberration coefficients

I am trying to model a simple system in Zemax (though I think the question is general and is not limited to Zemax app), but the ray-tracing does not seem to be consistent with the analysis of the ...
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3answers
1k views

How many times can light revolve around a black hole?

Take a light ray approaching a black hole from infinity which goes out again to infinity. What is the maximum finite rotation it can describe? (I know it can loop around indefinitely in the ...
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2answers
9k views

Why do things that are far away seem smaller?

As you see things that are far smaller, a funny question about this: Imagine there are many people in a row (all are same height) ...
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1answer
66 views

Optical signal filters

Are there any optical filters which filter the signal's frequency and not based on the wavelength of the light? So what I mean is, if I have a modulated/pulsating light signal riding on a large DC ...
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0answers
33 views

Microscopy: aperture matching and Huygen's principle

I have repeatedly read that the maximum spatial resolution of a microscope occurs when the aperture of the objective and condenser are the same. However, I don't understand why. The resolution is ...
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1answer
63 views

Why grating is an essential part of a monochromator?

From looking at these two images, it appears that the dispersed "rays" of the reflected light could be manipulated just as well if the reflecting mirror would be turned to a fixed angle. So why is ...
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2answers
140 views

light ray undergoing total internal reflection thrice inside a prism

Can it ever be possible that a light ray going inside a triangular prism of refractive index n having refracting angle A undergo total internal reflection thrice before emerging out? Note:I know it ...
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1answer
79 views

geometrical optics

I doing an experiment now. My structure has 700nm periodicity. The surface of the unit structure is sloped at 45 degrees from the normal incidence angle. My laser is 500 nm. I can expect there ...
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1answer
227 views

Huygens' Principle During Reflection: comparing wavelets from before reflection with wavelets from during reflection

I was recently reviewing geometric optics, during which I read about Huygens' Principle and how it could be used to prove the Law of Reflection from the "light is a wave" viewpoint. I'll quote what I ...
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0answers
9 views

Hildring - Influence of vertical temperature gradient on light beam curvature

In special atmospheric condition it is possible to see coastline that normally is behind the horizon. It is apparently lifted to become visible. In Scandinavian the phenomenon is called 'hildring', a ...
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1answer
83 views

Can a polarizing beam splitter cube be used to replace two polarizers?

I have a design for a setup to look at the light reflecting off the back of the human retina. I would like to remove any specular reflection that occurs at the cornea. At the moment the idea is to use ...
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1answer
89 views

What does the equation of a refracted ray trace mean?

I am doing a ray trace to a refracted vector. I read in some PDF files that: vector($\mathbf{t}$) is the refracted ray, vector($\mathbf{i}$) is the incident ray, the angle $\theta_t$ is the refraction ...
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3answers
83 views

How to improve the visibility of light without increasing the brightness?

I am not sure whether or not this is the right SE site to post this question on but I'm sure someone will inform me of my mistake soon enough if it is wrong. Basically I am an Electronic Engineer and ...
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1answer
68 views

Problem with Beam Splitter Refraction

I made a beam splitter for a simple test, as shown in the images below: This was my expected ray trace: But it instead refracted light like this: Why did the splitter cause light to ...
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1answer
62 views

What are the common points between physical optics and geometric optics? [closed]

I am trying to write a paper about light, I want to discuss the two way of studying light, the physical/wave optics and the geometric/ray optics, but I want to write a general introduction about them, ...
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2answers
86 views

how to trace light after refraction by a camera lens?

I am a programmer and I am doing a camera simulation, I am stuck in a matter of how to know where arrives every ray of light after traveling through the lens and being refracted. Every point of the ...
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0answers
51 views

Does the anisotropic Fermat eikonal equation predict the extraordinary ray direction given by Poynting vector?

Does the anisotropic Fermat eikonal equation predict the extraordinary ray direction given by Poynting vector?
196
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18answers
68k views

A mirror flips left and right, but not up and down

Why is it that when you look in the mirror left and right directions appear flipped, but not the up and down?
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4answers
6k views

Is it possible to start fire using moonlight?

You can start fire by focusing the sunlight using the magnifying glass. I searched the web whether you can do the same using moonlight. And found this and this - the first two in Google search ...
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2answers
239 views

Why do we assume that rays from infinity are parallel?

If light rays are parallel to each other , if they are from infinity, they are not gonna make an image because they won't intersect with each other. So we are not gonna see the image. Does that means ...
106
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2answers
6k views

Why do sunbeams diverge even though the sun is much more than a few kilometers away?

Consider this picture of sun beams streaming onto the valley through the clouds. Given that the valley is only (at a guess) 3km wide, with simple trigonometry and the angles of the beams, this ...
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3answers
76 views

Does polarization remove any of the fields completely?

A light is made up of electric and magnetic fields oriented perpendicular to each other. Can polarization lead to the removal of any of the fields completely?
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97 views

Gaussian beam modelling, location of the beam waist?

In reference to the specifications of a laser diode below: http://www.thorlabs.de/thorcat/11900/L780P010-SpecSheet.pdf I wish to be able to model it as a gaussian laser beam. I understand there is a ...
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1answer
55 views

Does the distortion of an image depend on the location of the object with respect to the mirror?

A mobile phone lies along the principal axis of a concave mirror with its distorted image, as shown in Fig. How do we actually figure out the formation of such images? The answer says: "The image ...
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0answers
29 views

Ray tracing a three-way intersection

I've been studying ray tracing in media with linear velocity-depth functions. One of the key concepts I've come across is the ray parameter, and in particular the idea that the ray parameter is ...