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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simple test/measurement to quantify water opacity

I am performing some measurements on liquid surfaces and I want to quantify how these mesures depend on the liquid opacity by performing it with different concentrations of colorant. To allow ...
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3k views

Focusing light into an optical fiber cable

I'm trying to focus light from a flashing light lamp throught two lens into a optical fiber cable which is around 0.8cm in diameter. flashing light: a bulb and then covered by a glass of 7.5cm x 7cm ...
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1k views

Diffraction through one slit?

When Thomas Young first conducted his double slit experiment to prove the wave nature of light, he shone light through two slits, creating an interference pattern. Apparently he then covered up one ...
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577 views

total intensity measurement (of the whole visible light spectrum; from 400 - 800 nm) with a powermeter PM100?

I was using a power meter PM100, with a Si-photodiode sensor head, to measure the intensity of the white light source (250 W quartz halogen lamp). I have recorded the power, shown by the sensor, by ...
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4answers
191 views

Rainbow around Sun

From the perspective of a person, a rainbow is formed when the Sun is behind the person, and there is a critical angle made by the rainbow. However, on several occasions, usually at noon when the Sun ...
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2answers
932 views

What are the differences in using an eyepiece with a barlow instead of a shorter eyepiece?

I intend to start making visual observations, and I want to know more about the difference between using barlow lenses and one or two eyepieces and using a complete kit of eyepieces, both for ...
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5answers
6k views

How does gravitational lensing account for Einstein's Cross?

Einstein's Cross has been attributed to gravitational lensing. However, most examples of gravitational lensing are crescents known as Einstein's rings. I can easily understand the rings and crescents, ...
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2answers
327 views

Air vs Glass refraction coefficient

I have a rather strange question, let's say I can play with the temperature and atmospheric pressure conditions in a sealed room. What will I need to do to make the air's refraction coefficient ...
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1answer
377 views

Question about Rayleigh scattering

To quote from Wikipedia on elastic scattering, "In this scattering process, the energy (and therefore the wavelength) of the incident photon is conserved and only its direction is changed." How does ...
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591 views

What does the Rayleigh Phase Function tell us

I am working on some radiative transfer equations, and struggling as I'm fairly new to this field. I have read about the Rayleigh Phase Function which is: $P(\theta) = \frac{3}{4}(1 + cos^2 \theta)$ ...
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4answers
293 views

How far would you need to displace your eyes to get meaningful depth perception of the stars?

The question follows from xkcd cartoon "Depth Perception (941)". I've isolated the frames that describe the concept here. In words, one could theoretically point two cameras at the sky, and ...
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2answers
885 views

Propagation of light in transparent media: absorption and reemission or scattering?

In the two Phys.SE questions What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium? and Why glass is transparent? transparent media were discussed. But I'd like to clarify ...
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4answers
865 views

Are telescopes with a concave lens useful for astronomy?

Are telescopes with a concave lens (instead of convex ones) ever useful for astronomy? And if so, where are they used? Do they ever affect resolving power?
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21 views

For resolving different objects, are there any alternative coefficients to the one used in the Rayleigh criterion? (which is 1.22)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_resolution#Explanation It's the point where you can't distinguish between the maxima and the first minima. But could there be cases where you have a more ...
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6answers
3k views

Why does light change direction when it travels through glass?

This was explained to me many years ago, by a physics teacher, with the following analogy: "If someone on the beach wants to reach someone else that is in the water, they will try to travel as much ...
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3answers
5k views

Physics of Focusing a Laser

The temperature that a solar death ray can produce is limited due to the solid angle of the sun itself. Entropic arguments dictate that you can't focus the sun's light to create temperatures higher ...
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1answer
2k views

How are photons “consumed”?

I have very little background in physics, so I apologize if this question is painfully naive. Consider the following thought experiment: an observer is in a closed room whose walls, floor, and ...
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0answers
143 views

Modeling a spray painted polyurethane surface reflection

I'm modeling light interaction/reflection from a fiberglass surface with polyurethane epoxy (that is very reflective) that has been spray painted with a matte black paint. I'm looking for some input ...
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0answers
74 views

Scaling an electron microscope to fit within 1 cubic cm when running multiple parallel scans [closed]

Yes, I'm serious. What components correspond to an individual scan vrs what components can be cascaded across all objects? Ex: The vacuum chamber can be cascaded ( colocate the sample chambers ...
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1answer
87 views

Creating the opposite of an optical lattice

Is it possible to create periodic potentials that instead of creating a well for an atom to be trapped in, repulsed by that specific location? If yes, can we use this as a means to make artificial ...
4
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2answers
329 views

Laser beam shaping

Hi I like to build a laser pointer that reflects different shapes for a project I am working on. I know this can be done with Diffractive Optical Elements. Are there other options? DOEs are expensive. ...
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2answers
732 views

How to make mirrors give more authentic image of myself

My friend bought two normal mirrors from some shop probably IKEA, looking like this one: My images are different from the two. One is a little fatter and shorter, and the other a little thinner and ...
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1answer
3k views

Why are lasers inefficient?

Why are lasers inefficient? Is it because of the heat lost during lasing? Why couldn't there be thermocouples or turbines in parts of the cooling circuits to extract something out of that heat?
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2answers
915 views

What is the specific meaning of “Fourier frequency” (as opposed to simply “frequency”)?

I've noticed that many journal articles (in optics) use the phrase "Fourier frequency" to describe, well, the frequency of something. Google scholar search for "Fourier frequency". Example: ...
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1answer
463 views

Boundary Conditions Invariant Under Conformal Transformations in Electrostatics?

in two dimensional electrostatics it is assumed that the whole physical system is translationally invariant in one direction. Here, the two-dimensional Laplace equation $$\Delta \phi(x,y) = ...
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2answers
724 views

Distance of objects in car mirrors

We've all seen that label on our passenger side mirrors that says, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." Why is this? Further, why does it only apply to the passenger side mirror, and not ...
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1answer
135 views

Does a slide in a projector act as a diffuser?

I was wondering whether or not a slide in a slide projector acts as light diffuser? So when I have a light source that does not have a parallel beam on the slide can I expect that the other side of ...
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1answer
694 views

Light Energy Absorption In Mirror

Let the amount of energy in one pulse of (laser) light be $E$, and the wavelength be $\lambda$. This pulse goes straight to the mirror, and it is reflected by the mirror. Let the reflectivity of ...
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3answers
1k views

Do eyeballs exhibit chromatic aberration?

Fairly straightforward question. If not, why not? I suspect that if they do, it is not perceived due to the regions of highest dispersion being in one's region of lowest visual acuity.
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4answers
142 views

Projecting image without manual focussing

I was wondering if it was possible to project a magnified image on a wall without the need of focusing, so just by dimensioning the lenses right. I know I have to use the principal of Maxwellian View ...
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2answers
336 views

Is apparent horizon curvature lesser due to refraction of light in the atmosphere?

I have encountered this claim while searching for sources answering " Can we see the curvature of earth from the top of world's tallest building? ". Wikipedia article on horizon claims (with no ...
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0answers
193 views

Refractive index liquids: Why hard to buy? [closed]

Does anyone know the refractive index suppliers? I've found Cargille Labs (which customer service is terrible so far but the liquids may actually be OK), but nothing else comparable. I'd like to have ...
5
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3answers
2k views

What happens to light in a perfect reflective sphere?

Let's say you have the ability to shine some light into a perfectly round sphere and the sphere's interior surface was perfectly smooth and reflective and there was no way for the light to escape. If ...
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1answer
111 views

Diffraction pattern threshhold

What is the characteristic bump height of periodic grating below which diffraction effect cease to exist (let assume a threshold of peaks to valleys intensity of 20% as the minimum detectable by human ...
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0answers
71 views

Quadrature Separation in Homodyne Detector

I am wondering in Homodyne detector structure with a beamsplitter, why phase of input beam to beamsplitter can be conjugated? I mean for example for an input beam operator b onto the beamsplitter at ...
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1answer
416 views

Mirror “roughness”

In optics one of "diffraction-limited" criteria is wavefront tolerance: a textbook example is is optical system with 1/4 wavelength limits producing image of a point source with 68% of the energy ...
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6answers
2k views

How come an anti-reflective coating makes glass *more* transparent?

The book I'm reading about optics says that an anti-reflective film applied on glass* makes the glass more transparent, because the air→film and film→glass reflected waves (originated from a paraxial ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Why don't waves with different wavelengths interfere with each other in white-light?

The book I'm reading about optics says at some point that "each color (wavelength) contained in the white light interferes only with itself". But why is this so? Edit: I moved the rest of the ...
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1answer
338 views

Does coverslip thickness matter for high NA oil immersion objectives?

This question is related to Impact of covering glass on lens performance. I use a 63x TIRF objective with a numerical aperture of 1.46 and oil immersion. The immersion oil has an index of ...
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0answers
271 views

What defines the thickness of a Nomarski prism?

Lets say I want to design a Nomarski prism that would split the ordinary and extraordinary beam by an angle of 0.32 mrad. I used a raytracer to find the internal angle between the quartz wedges. ...
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2answers
374 views

Photon statistics of an incandescent light source

We usually calibrate the cameras on our microscopes by capturing 20 images of a blurry (not sharp) fluorescent particle. For each pixel in this stack of 20 images we calculate the intensity variance. ...
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5answers
1k views

Why does light reflect more intensely when it hits a surface at a large angle?

I mean, what is happening at a microscopic level to cause this behavior? Here's what I got from Wikipedia: On Reflection (physics)#Reflection of light it says that "solving Maxwell's equations for a ...
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2answers
178 views

Magnification multiplication using telescope arrays?

If we have an array of telescopes attached one after another, would the resultant magnification be multiplied?Also would such a contraption be feasible to make telescopes with amazing magnification?
4
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1answer
185 views

Impact of covering glass on lens performance

I've seen microscope lenses optimized for 0.17mm covering glass. I don't see what needs to be optimized here? As glass does not touch the lens (as in case of oil/water immersion) - it should just ...
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1answer
3k views

What is so good about diffractive optics?

What's so ingenious in diffractive lenses? To my naive eye they seem to be just Fresnel lenses with smaller features. What makes it so magic and why all the fuss about it?
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5answers
1k views

Why aren't there compression waves in electromagnetic fields?

I just started learning about optics, and in the book I'm reading they explain how the electrical field caused by a single charged particle could be described by a series of field lines, and compare ...
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2answers
253 views

Optical distortions and focus losses calculation

I'm working with a megapixel camera and lens that needs to be focused for an OCR application. In order to measure the focus quality during the set-up, I've built a tool that gives the contrast value ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Batman spotlight in the sky

I have noticed that obstructing a spotlight typically results in a blurred shadow unlike the crisp batman symbol in the comics of batman. Is there a way to create a spotlight with a crisp batman ...
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3answers
2k views

What really cause light/photons to appear slower in media?

I know that if we solve the maxwell equation, we will end up with the phase velocity of light is related to the permeability and the permittivity of the material. But this is not what I'm interested ...
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156 views

Does 'ring' diaphragm reduce lens spherical abberations?

As I see it, as light comes through approximately same angular area of the lens, it should have less aberrations, and at the same time, it should still have high θ -> diffraction limit should stay as ...