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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Optics, lenses and our eyes

When we view an image, is the focal point of our eye on our retina? Shouldn't that hurt? Also, if that is how our eye works, then why don't lenses put the focal point their equivalent retina? I was ...
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182 views

Mirror image at relativistic speeds

Imagine moving parallel to the surface of a very large flat mirror at relativistic speeds. What would be the effect of viewing yourself in the mirror? At non-relativistic speeds your image would be ...
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94 views

Is there a way to create a flickering frequency to be dependent on speed of the person looking at it?

Is there a way to make a screen or a road sign flash at different rates, depending on the velocity of the observer looking at it? I would like to achieve a state where two observers going at ...
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70 views

State emitting from an extended thermal source

This calculation is for a double slit experiment setup which is experiencing a far field radiation from an extended monochromatic thermal source. I assume the source is 1-D and it's length is $b$. ...
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108 views

Non reciprocal light propagation

In search for some explanation in why magneto-optical materials (like the one used in the Faraday rotator and, consequently, in the "optical diode") act in such a "strange" way, I saw that this kind ...
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375 views

Apparent and real depth object in water [closed]

Did I get my formula right? Seems like the correct answer is $d_o = 1.33 \times d_i$ but I thought the formula I should use is $d_i = - \frac{n_2}{n_1} d_o$
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514 views

Physical explanation for why total internal reflection occurs

I have been trying to understand total internal reflection (and have read several posts on this site already). Mathematically, I feel that I understand how the evanescent wave decays exponentially as ...
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208 views

Keep the light beam in a closed room, is it possible? [duplicate]

I mean if I am in a room totally closed to light. If I switch on a torch for a second then switch it off. So will the inside of room be always bright?
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83 views

Is my textbook in error about this geometric optics relation?

Given a centered optical system (having an axis of rotational symmetry), let $H_1$ be the intersection of the optical axis and the "principal object plane" (I'm studying in French and have no idea how ...
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730 views

Infinite reflection of light and the conservation of energy / momentum

First off, I confess I'm no physicist, but I have been asking people with a more extensive knowledge this one question, without a definitive answer so far. Basically, I'm playing around with the idea ...
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41 views

The weight of a cavity of radiation

A sealed cavity full of light weighs more than an empty one. So consider a cavity consisting of parallel mirrors, with a pair of beams bouncing between the mirrors. The question is whether that weight ...
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194 views

Concerning Scattering Intensity and Particle Concentration

I am trying to determine what governs my sensor output. I have an optical sensor that emits infrared radiation on a sample volume and gives me a voltage output from the scattering of (1 to 10 micron) ...
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637 views

Optimal telescope size?

Consider a diffraction-limited telescope with unobstructed aperture $D$. Such a scope is capable of yielding an angular resolution $\alpha$ that scales as $\lambda/D$, with $\lambda$ denoting the ...
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132 views

Why does the quantum eraser seem to violate energy and momentum conservation?

In the literature of the quantum eraser experiment it is argued that the change in statistics of the system from non-interference to interference is due to the erasing of "distinguishing information". ...
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295 views

Can a photon exhibit multiple frequencies?

Can a photon be a superposition of multiple frequency states? Kind of similar to how an electron can be a superposition of multiple spin states.
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74 views

Selectively visible laser beam with a controllable means

How can parts of a laser beam be made visible while others left invisible using something electronically controllable (for example, another laser beam crossing it, or a magnetic field, or heat, etc).
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518 views

Light Ray Reflection from concave mirror

Suppose a ray of light hits a concave mirror and is parallel to principle axis but far away from it such that it doesn't follow paraxial ray approximation. Will it pass through focus or between focus ...
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Why do focal lengths affect magnification?

For compound lenses, the image formed by first lens acts as the imaginaryobject for the second lens. In telescopes, the objective lens projects an image on its focal point which works as the object ...
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108 views

Is light red shifted in optical tweezers?

This is a question I put to my supervisor during my PhD many years ago, and never really got a satisfactory answer to. In an optical tweezers, assume that a beam of light is used to move a glass ...
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348 views

Confusing mirror problem

A piece of thin spherical shell that has a radius of curvature of 106 cm is silvered on both sides. The concave side of the piece forms a real image 79.5 cm from the mirror. The piece is then turned ...
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515 views

Three polarizers, 45° apart

If light is passed through two polarizing filters before arriving at a target, and both of the filters are oriented at 90° to each other, then no light will be received at the target. If a third ...
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296 views

Young's double slit experiment viva question

My professor asked me (in my viva exam), "If, in the Fraunhofer single slit diffraction experiment, if we have 2 slits instead of one (at very short distances), What would happen?" I answered with ...
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38 views

Can the choice of reflection angle for light can be derived from a minimality condition?

When the light hits on a surface, it reflects with the "same" angle as the one that hits the surface. I was wondering if this choice of angle can be explained by a minimality condition?
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29 views

Problem in geometrical optics [duplicate]

I was trying to solve a problem taken from an Physics Olympiad when I came across a curious and complex mathematical expression. I can not prove with what I know so far about mathematics, does could ...
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1answer
115 views

How can a Jones vector give linear polarization along an axis?

If we represent a Jones vector by two complex-valued exponentials, $J_1 = e^{i \phi_1}$ and $J_2 = e^{i \phi_2}$, how can this ever give a polarization along the x-axis? We write such a polarization ...
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215 views

How to create visible reflections in shallow water?

Assumption: The only lights I have are candle, table lamp, and sunlight. What would I need to create visible reflection of an object in the shallow water contained in a 5 liter bucket? Is it even ...
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92 views

Speed and transparency of light

I have been puzzled with a fact that as an object moves faster, it ceases its property of opacity. I mean to say that as an object moves faster we can see right through it (more clearly than in a ...
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589 views

How does this trick with mirrors work?

Imagine two mirrors, set touching each other at right angles to one another. There is a 90 degree arc in which reflections can be seen, and a person standing in that arc can see himself reflected in ...
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260 views

Why can't we see real images?

When light from an object passes through a convex lense, it gets reconverged at a single real image. From there, the light rays presumabely begin diverging again, exactly as if there was a ...
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117 views

How much refraction occurs as a fraction of all reflection and refraction?

When light reaches a boundary between materials below the critical angle, some of it refracts and some of it reflects. For example, glass acts as a partial mirror with a dark background. Assuming ...
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2k views

Can virtual image be photographed

Is there any instrument that can photograph a virtal image? How would such a device work?
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221 views

How to calculate beam spread of a non-point light source via an aspheric lens

I need to determine the angle, or rate of divergence of light from a single aspheric lens when I place a non-point light source (e.g. LED array) at a given distance from the lens which is less than ...
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162 views

How do you calculate heat flux (Kw/m2) at the focal point of a mirror? [duplicate]

can anyone help me to determine the heat flux (Kw/m2) on a focal point of a parabolic dish having a diameter of 1.5 meter and a focal length 60 cm ??? please awaiting your soonest reply for my senior ...
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330 views

Why don't you see multiple images of an object?

Consider the ray model of light. Let's say an object such as a pencil is illuminated, and consider one point on that pencil. Since there could be many rays of light bouncing off the same point on the ...
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200 views

Effects of surface roughness on specularity

Say you have a piece of glass, which looks specular if propery cut/polished. But if you sand the surface using say sand paper, it will look hazy and glossy. I'm wondering how much surface roughness ...
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Why does the sky look black in pictures taken from the summit of everest?

In pictures taken from the summit of Mount Everest (such as this one), the colour of the sky is a very dark blue or even black in some pictures. I remember from my own experiences of hiking in the ...
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288 views

Fraunhofer diffraction simulation for a hexagonal aperture, what are the typical units?

Kostya answered a question that was asking what the diffraction pattern looks like for a hexagonal aperture in front of a lens. He lists an equation which was derived using a Heaviside function to ...
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398 views

Why does the index of refraction change the direction of light

I've been studying in optics the macroscopic maxwell's equations, and how electromagnetic fields propagate through different mediums. Over there, the index of refraction appears, as a complex function ...
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161 views

Which fraction of light is refracted from a source of light under a lake?

I was trying to solve this problem: "A punctiform source of light is standing inside a lake, at a height h of the surface. f is the fraction of the total of energy emitted that escapes directly from ...
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192 views

double slit experiment with two opposite quarter waveplates

Consider the usual double slit experiment involving laser and a double slit and a screen. Now place in front of the left slit a quarter waveplate (let's call it QWP1) that changes a certain linear ...
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Why a person with a further near point experience a larger magnification with a magnifier

Two people, Micah and Lyra, with different near points are equally close to an object. Both inspect the object through the same magnifier by holding the lens close to the eye. Micah's near ...
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303 views

What determines the sign of an image distance?

A lens placed at the origin with its axis pointing along the x axis produces a real inverted image at $x = - 24 cm$ that is twice as tall as the object. What is the image distance? Why ...
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286 views

How do you calculate power at the focal point of a mirror?

I'm a Mechanical Engineering student and I'm working on my senior project, so I need help. My project is about designing a solar dish having a diameter of 1.5 meters and a focal length of 60cm. so at ...
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1answer
1k views

Polarizability and the Clausius-Mossotti Relation

There seems to be a fairly large inconsistency in various textbooks (and some assorted papers that I went through) about how to define the Clausius-Mossotti relationship (also called the ...
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105 views

cgs Gauss' system of units

I had never seen this system until today, and I'm really confused. I've read the wikipedia article about it but I still don't know how to change between this and the international system. For example, ...
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2k views

Eye sensitivity & Danger signal

Why are danger signal in red, when the eye is most sensitive to yellow-green? You can check luminosity function for more details...
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187 views

Is a holographic recorder able to capture a large full color picture? [closed]

Is it practical to attempt to build a 3D hologram generator that is full color and big enough to recreate a watermelon full size? If so, is real-time control feasible?
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142 views

Are EM waves scattered the most when the wavelength and the obstacle have a similar size?

I heard that when the wavelength and obstacle are similar in size, the scattering is the greatest. Is this true?
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139 views

Smaller Airy disk with another lens?

Is it possible to reduce the airy disk size produced by one lens with another lens placed after the previous one? For example, parallel ray incident on first lens L1 (without aberration), then there ...
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104 views

Why is $\vec j\cdot \vec e$ the joule dissipation?

I always see $\vec j\cdot \vec e$ as Joule's dissipation and I don't understand why. For example, if we have a uniform electric field $\vec e=e_o\vec u_x$ and we release an electron in it, it will ...