Optics is the study of light, and its interaction with matter. It includes topics such as imaging systems, fiber optics, lasers, quantum optics, and more.

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18
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665 views

Are the fast axes on Thorlabs quarter-waveplates mislabeled?

Some members of my lab are performing a polarization-sensitive experiment where they need to use a quarter-waveplate (QWP) with the fast axis in a specific direction. In the process of carefully ...
8
votes
0answers
127 views

mode-locking a laser on prime-powers' frequencies

Being rather a theoretician than an experimental physicist, I have a question to the community: Is it experimentally possible to mode-lock a laser (fixed phase relationships between the modes of the ...
6
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0answers
287 views

Why can I turn light red or blue by holding my finger up to it?

This is a difficult phenomenon to explain. Imagine you have an opaque object partially covering a very bright light source, for example, an object held up against the sky. The left hand diagram is ...
6
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0answers
186 views

How would we see the earth if refraction of light was significantly stronger?

On worldbuilding.SE there is a question about the cosmological consequences of a world with super-high refraction and atmosphere opaqueness. I'm assuming the easiest way to minimally change the laws ...
5
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238 views

What's the size of the smallest possible CCD/CMOS pixel size?

For a given wavelength $\lambda$, is there a limit on the size of the sensor pixel, regardless of the optical equipment attached to the sensor?
5
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0answers
185 views

Why is this way of calculating the diffraction pattern valid?

I've seen that in some books (Fowles) the intensity of the diffraction pattern is calculated in the following way. We place the source $S$ and the point at the screen $P$ in the line perpendicular ...
4
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70 views

How can I precisely measure the intensity of the Hydrogen Alpha (Balmer) line at low intensities?

I assume that I will need some kind of very precise filtering, but how is that accomplished? After that, photon counting at worst, but I am expecting millions of photons per second. The background is ...
4
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0answers
199 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 $DB$ ...
4
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57 views

Entanglement g-2-experiment - Which components do I need?

I would like to measure whether my source emits entangled photon pairs. To that order I want to build a g-2-experiment, which measures photon coincidence counts as a function of time delay between ...
4
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0answers
107 views

Optical Bloch Oscillation

I have a doubt about how the optical Bloch oscillations happen in a 1D photonic crystal. I try to explain: in a photonic crystal with discrete translational symmetry in one direction I superimpose a ...
3
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0answers
36 views

Wave vector relation in nonlinear material

A light wave ($k_1,\omega_1$) travels in a medium of refractive index $n_1$ and then encounters a nonlinear medium ($n_2$) under the angle $\theta_1$. Snell's law tells us the wave's direction in the ...
3
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45 views

Why must this boundary condition be met? (Electromagnetic wave at interface between two mediums)

My textbook says that The laws of Electromagnetic Theory (Section 3.1) lead to certain requirements that must be met by the fields, and they are referred to as the boundary conditions. ...
3
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70 views

Improper integral of the product of exponential function and Laguerre polynomial

I saw this integral in the book [Gerry C.C.,Knight P.L.] Introductory quantum optics: ...
3
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0answers
35 views

Single Narrow Sunbeam

I saw a single narrow sunbeam this cloudy, post-rain, morning as I was driving. The narrow beam, which seemed only a couple of inches wide, came directly from the sun, arched slightly and ended on ...
3
votes
0answers
94 views

False sunset and false sunrise time estimation

False sunset and false sunrise are described . Here is a sample day rise and set time according to AccuWheather site and calculated value of sunrise and sunset in my country. Could you please help ...
3
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0answers
66 views

3D movie optics mathematics

I get the idea that we use two polarized light sources and a parallax rendered film such that the objects seem to resemble true parallax in our eyes once it passes through the polarized glasses, but ...
3
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0answers
60 views

Beating the Diffraction Limit with NSOM

I am trying to understand exactly why we can beat the diffraction limit when using near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM). For those who aren't familiar with NSOM, check out this article: ...
3
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0answers
78 views

What does it mean for a Fresnel lens to have two finite conjugates?

I'm in a situation where I need to reverse engineer a product that my company already manufactures and sells, but it wasdesigned too long ago for anyone to remember. It uses a Fresnel lens with the ...
3
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0answers
138 views

Why isn't Zemax showing a tilt on the wavefront on my telescope design?

Attached is a Zemax file Zemax File for an afocal telescope system. When i tilt the field by an angle of 2 degrees (In green) I would expect a wavefront tilt at the "Image " plane, however when I ...
3
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0answers
107 views

Clarification about Bragg's law explanation

The Wikipedia has this illustration of Bragg's law and then says The two separate waves will arrive at a point with the same phase, and hence undergo constructive interference, if and only if ...
3
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142 views

Rotating a Gaussian Beam

I need to see how the phase fronts of two gaussian beams interact when they intersect with each other. The two beams are tilted towards each other so that they intersect each other at their respective ...
3
votes
0answers
59 views

caustics on droplets on glasses formed by streetlights

Suppose you're out at night, and it's rainy, and your glasses are covered by water droplets, and you chance to look at a streetlight. Are the ridged caustics of light seen at the edges of these ...
3
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0answers
83 views

Mathematical approaches to atmospheric refraction

Understanding atmospheric refraction, particularly of ultraviolet, and into the blue part of the visible spectrum is of great interest to me. Although, I have a strong background in trigonometry and ...
3
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146 views

Superposition principle and polarization

I am reading an optics book (Physics of Light and Optics by Peatross and Ware) that asserts this: A beam of light can always be considered as an intensity sum of completely unpolarized light and ...
3
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382 views

Myopia / Hypermetropia eye glasses inverting image on retina

As far as I'm aware, the eye acts like a pinhole camera in that it inverts the image on the rentina. This makes sense as the rays converge and form a focal point that is upside down. Myopia ...
3
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236 views

Maximum-Entropy Method deconvolution implementation?

I am looking for an implementation of the Maximum Entropy Method for image deconvolution, ideally in MATLAB or Mathematica. I'm trying to reconstruct an image from fringe visibilities, as is often ...
3
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0answers
475 views

Pockels effect/Kerr effect

In Pockels electro-optic effect, change in Electric field produces change in refractive index/ birefringence. Moreover this effect becomes electric field squared in the case of Kerr effect. If we ...
3
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2k views

How does autorefractor work?

Autorefractors are being used by eye opticians for eye diagnosis. I searched internet for articles and wiki page as well but I wasn't satisfied. I am interested to know how do they actually work. How ...
3
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0answers
60 views

SHS Interferometer and diffraction limit

I'm currently researching Spatial Heterodyned Spectrometers (SHS) and I'm a bit at a loss understanding the influence of the diffraction limit. I'll be measuring a diffuse visible light source with ...
3
votes
0answers
187 views

Bandgap Spacing in Photonic Crystals

I am doing some self-study on photonics and have encountered the following question: We know that amorphous electronic crystals such as amorphous silicon have a bandgap. Can amorphous photonic ...
3
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0answers
70 views

A problem concerning the change of temperature and spectrum of a filament

The spectrum of a filament has been given before, the left one having the lowest temperature, the middle with a medium temperature and the right one with the highest. My question is this: Why does ...
3
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0answers
224 views

Is it possible to calculate the work function of a metal with basic lab equipment?

ive been given a problem in physics, its to prove if a lump of metal we have been given is real gold or not. one way to to do it would be to work out its density, which is fairly easy, mass/volume. ...
3
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80 views

Optics: finding total power of a syste, including wavelength

Specifically I need to create an ABCD matrix given 2 radii of curvatures, the thickness of the lens, type of glass (BK7) and a given wavelength. I will have to figure this out eventually, so help ...
2
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46 views

Why should angle of incidence be equal to angle of emergence for minimum deviation in a triangular prism?

When I was solving questions on Ray optics I encountered a question wherein I had to prove that when a ray of light undergoes minimum deviation through a triangular prism then both the angles of ...
2
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25 views

Terminology - optical (visual) properties of a structure

I am trying to understand few terminological problems that I encounter. Without knowing keywords it is hard to perform search for literature or publications in the area. The area relates to the ...
2
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0answers
39 views

Aquarium/refractive indices/detector

Quick question: I'm currently fiddling around with this homework of mine and I seem to be lacking some basic optics knowledge apparently. An aquarium is filled with a fluid as seen in the figure ...
2
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0answers
33 views

Is Snell's Law valid even for on any curved surfaces?

Proof of Snell's Law can also done by using Fermat's principle of least time on plane surfaces. Can we prove the same result for any curved surfaces ?
2
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0answers
22 views

Penetration depth of thermal IR into building and insulation materials

What are the values of the penetration depth (or the attenuation coefficient) of thermal infrared radiation (say, 5-20 $\mu$m wavelength) into common building and insulation materials (brick, stone, ...
2
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0answers
29 views

Searching for a textbook on Imaging

I'm hoping someone can recommend a book that will cover the physics involved in optical range image capture. I have a degree in physics, so I am looking for something on the technical end. To expand, ...
2
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0answers
25 views

Lens-Mirror systems and conservation of specific intensity

This came out of a discussion I started yesterday and a related discussion I found. I'll recap the problem quickly: Consider two blackbodies, with surface areas $A_1$ and $A_2$ and temperatures $T_1$ ...
2
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0answers
131 views

General proof of formulas of geometric optics?

In most lf textbooks formulas of geometric optics like lens maker formula and base formula for that are proven (or rather verified from my point of view) by taking specific case (ray diagram) and ...
2
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0answers
37 views

Determining the spatial imaging resolution based on a pinhole diffraction pattern

I aimed a 780 nm/1mW laser at a 1μm pinhole and took a picture of it using a lens and a CCD camera. The magnification of my imaging system is ~25 times. I wrote some code that takes the image of the ...
2
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0answers
55 views

Resolution of two frequencies

If I am trying to resolve two features in frequency space, with central frequencies A and B and a 'spread' (standard deviation, FWHM etc.) of $\sigma_A$ and $\sigma_B$ what is the spectral separation ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

statistical property of light reflected from a coarse mirror

This is a problem comes up in my study in correlation reflectometry. I'm wondering if there is a straight-forward way to interpret the phase and amplitude of the reflected light from a perturbed ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

Limits on the information obtained through optical measurements

Consider a Gedankenexperiment shown in the figure below. There are two lasers $S1$ and $S2$ with exactly the same specifications on paper. In practice, they are of course somewhat different but ...
2
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0answers
48 views

How accurately do Airy discs need to be superimposed in an optical interferometer to create fringes?

In an astronomical optical interferometer, what is the largest amount of error in the alignment of the Airy disks of point source star images from different arms of the interferometer that will still ...
2
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0answers
118 views

How to deal with coma and oblique spherical aberration in a Czerny Turner configuration?

I am modelling my own spectrometer using Zemax when all of a sudden I've been told that: even if you manage to optimize the angles or positions of the grating and the mirrors, you won't get ...
2
votes
0answers
143 views

Why do spatial filters use microscope objectives, and not other types of lenses?

A spatial filter is a device to 'clean up' a laser beam with an irregular intensity profile, and create a smooth Gaussian profile at the output. It is usually said (e.g. here) that you need a ...
2
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0answers
47 views

Is there any review paper on spatial light modulator?

I need a review paper on the various types, principles and characterization of spatial light modulator. But it seems I could not find one. Any one has a good idea?
2
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0answers
49 views

What is angular accelerating light?

As described in this article "Our angular accelerating fields rely on combinations of orbital angular momentum - so-called twisted light," says Forbes. Light carrying orbital angular momentum ...