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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Why does a glass acts like a mirror in viewed at an angle? [duplicate]

There is a conference hall , glass door parallel to my desk. whenever the door is open, I can see reflection of images perpendicular to the viewing angle. But when the door is closed, I can’t see any ...
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Could the sky on a planet theoretically be any color?

The sky on the Earth is blue. Could the color of the sky on a planet with an atmosphere be of any color theoretically? Which colors are the most likely? I think it would be really awesome to have ...
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353 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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Insect Eyes Vs Human Eyes?

Humans have frontal eyes. Less field of view. But better resolving power. Insects have lateral eyes. This means they have a large field of view. In some female insects the lateral eyes have much more ...
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86 views

doppler cooling temperature limit

Wikipedia shows a heating effect that causes minimum temperature achievable in doppler cooling as: "The atom performs a random walk in momentum space with steps equal to the photon momentum due to ...
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1answer
113 views

Lens with a mirrored coating [closed]

A biconvex lens of refractive index $n$ and radius of curvature $r$ and focal length $f$ floats horizontally on liquid mercury such that its lower surface is effectively a spherical mirror. A point ...
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56 views

Laser beam sensed by scattering

Can a laser beam, whether it is a IR laser or of the visible to human eye spectrum, be seen/sensed by an electronic eye like a photosensor/photodetector, not human eye, if the beam is just in air? For ...
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529 views

Sun in front of horizon after sunset; mirage or reflection?

The day before yesterday, I observed sunset while flying over the eastern Mediterranean. After the sun set, it seemed to 'continue' in front of the horizon. I managed to snatch a picture (sorry for ...
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107 views

How far away are we from a UV LED operating at around 100nm?

So far, we are down to around 250nm for UV LEDs. If I could get one at around 100nm that would ionize air I would find it very useful. Any ideas on whether this wavelength is feasible for a LED?
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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 ...
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Fresnel equations of S and T waves and Isofrequecy Curves: Feeling confused

First of all sorry for my (probably) bad english. I've been studying propagation of light in anisotropic media from the Born and Wolf and from Landau "electrodynamics in continuous media" and I'm ...
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4answers
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Focusing and collimating laser light on a table top scale

I am looking for a summary of practical methods of focusing and collimating laser light, which I guess are contradictory objectives, or are they? For example, when I use typical small diode lasers, ...
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147 views

In Young's double slit experiment how can we determine the shape of fringes formed?

Does the shape of fringe change if the type of source is changed (point source or extended source) or if the relative position of slits is changed (both lie on a line either horizontal or vertical to ...
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Can light emit light?

How and why does the Huygens principle really work? I mean, does it always work? The Huygens principle: Every point on a wave-front may be considered a source of secondary spherical wavelets ...
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3answers
133 views

Laser beam photon counting

I'd like to know if devices exist that are able to detect the single photon missing out of a normal laser beam. I am aware of the fact that single photon counters do exist, but I'd like to ask some ...
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172 views

How big would a solar sail need to be to be detected from the orbit of Pluto?

Suppose we made a solar sail out of a highly reflective material. How big would that solar sail have to be for the Hubble Space Telescope to detect it visually at the average distance of Pluto?
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The first term of Stokes Vector of natural light is zero?

Consider the electric field of a beam of natural light: $$ E(r,t) = E_0 \cos(k·r+wt) $$ Since this beam of light is natural, the vector E has all the components possible that satisfies: ...
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233 views

Understanding colored shadows [closed]

When I turn on white lights, these chairs cast a shadow. However, when blue LED lights are turned on the shadow turns yellow. Why is this? Is this due to interference of light or is it just an ...
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720 views

How do I find the right lens for my laser?

I purchased this line laser recently and I'm running into a bit of an issue. The laser shoots out at a 120 degree angle which is perfect. However, once the laser spreads to about 4.25 inches, I need ...
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72 views

With the new time cloak technology could it be possible to stop time for everything except one person

So I was just reading up on some new research on national geographic from the Cornell University scientists and it seems that they've managed to bend waves of light around something to hide it from ...
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67 views

What exactly is an image?

When we say several rays meet to form an image, what is that which is formed? Is it an arrangement of unknown entities? What exactly am I looking at when I see my image in a plane mirror?
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What could cause the gradual loss (or change) of power in a CO2 laser over a long period (e.g. a year)?

For example, if it were a 10W CW CO2 laser that were used for ~45 minutes per day over a period of a year. Would you expect a slight reduction in power with age? Does the dissociation of CO2 occur ...
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560 views

Arrow that changes direction home experiment

I saw this cool optical effect in a experiment on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G303o8pJzls Could anyone explain to me why the arrow points in the opposite direction? I have read ...
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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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52 views

Is the IoR of water exactly $4/3$?

The index of refraction of water is commonly cited as $n \approx 1.33$, to varying numbers of decimal places. I've never seen a decimal expansion for this value with any digit other than $3$ past the ...
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201 views

Why does larger permittivity of a medium cause light to propagate slower?

I was wondering about what physically happens when light is transmitted through a non-magnetic medium. Specifically, I’m trying to visualize how materials slow down light as the electromagnetic wave ...
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1answer
329 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
102 views

Cause behind bending of light in refraction [duplicate]

I know that refraction is caused due to change in speed of light but why does it bends? I also know that during refraction frequency is constant and wavelength is decreased since speed slows down. But ...
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2answers
545 views

How do HUD optics create readable text so close to the eye?

The human eye has a minimum focal length of about maybe 50-80mm. Most Heads Up Displays (HUDs) are much closer to that, so how is the text they display visible without being horribly out of focus? ...
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719 views

How to measure the size of a laser dot?

I'm not a physicist, that's why I'm asking you if there is maybe an easy way (e.g. a mathematical law) to measure the size of a laser dot, or its diameter. The setup It contains a laser, a high ...
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1answer
56 views

How can I make an optical circulator?

I need to a single mode 1550 optical circulator at my lab. I have a varied supply of components, but no circulator. Any idea how I can make one myself? Perhaps using coupler and isolator? Thanks. -D
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Can spectacles converge sunlight to an extent that it burns the eyeball?

I need to know whether wearing spectacles can cause optical harm. I saw a movie where one pair of glasses was placed on table exposed to sunlight, then the sunlight converged and focused to a point ...
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218 views

light is allowed to pass through transparent objects? [duplicate]

light passes through transparent objects like water and glass ,where in case of glass the molecules are more tightly packed or concentrated then to it allows light to pass, Why?(yet reflection occurs ...
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362 views

Why is diffraction related to wavelength, not amplitude?

For diffraction, the wavelength of the incident beam should be in range magnitude of the slit length, but why the isn't the amplitude related to the length of the slit?
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129 views

A very basic question about optics and figuring out focal length

Focal Length of a lens - I was told that as an approximation I could simply put a sheet of paper with text on it on a table, hold the lens above it, and when I can see the text most clearly, the ...
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41 views

Why does Threshold current of laser increase with the increase in temperature?

Why does Threshold current of laser increase with the increase in temperature? I know that at the same current level, the power is higher at lower temperature but why?
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1answer
446 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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358 views

Why does black glass reflect better than white one?

Why does black glass reflect better than white glass? Both of them are glasses, so they reflect light. But why black glass reflects better? See below, shiny black glass.
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Spatial coherence of SLED light (width of active region?)

As far as I know, super-luminescent diodes (a.k.a. SLEDs) have a very similar structure to laser diodes, except that the front faces of the active region are tilted to prevent the sort of reflections ...
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1answer
459 views

How do you calculate the focal point location of a circular mirror? [closed]

I'm trying to find the focal point and center of curvature of a concave mirror. Just using the radius for the center doesn't seem to work. I know C = 2f, but I'm not sure how to find f or C, given the ...
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1answer
220 views

Snell's law demonstration

I'm a bit confused about a Snell's law demonstration. I'm reading Communication Systems from W. Tomasi. In the chapter 11, the author applies the Snell's law to θent, and -here comes my problem- he ...
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3answers
294 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
171 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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2answers
2k views

Does a laser beam have to hit the eyes in order to damage them?

Does a laser beam have to hit the eyes in order to damage them? Or can a persons eyes get damaged by looking at a beam that goes past their eyes (e.g. looking at a laser beam moving inside an ...
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140 views

Why is wax brighter? [closed]

How can wax be normally darker than paper (absorb more light) but apart of light be lighter (let more light go)?
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1answer
93 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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1answer
76 views

How to propagate a planar e/m field in free space using plane waves?

I read this great answer to this question: Numerical software to manipulate a light beam in its plane wave representation? The main thing that I am trying to clear in my head is the following: ...
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379 views

Wavelength used in manufacturing of integrated circuits (IC)

How is it that the silicon ICs industry can burn ICs of a dozen nanometers using photolytography with UV laser of about 193 nanometers? Since the gates are smaller than the wavelength, for example 22&...
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1answer
244 views

How we can calculate the elements of the Mueller matrix?

Disregarding coherent wave superposition, any fully polarized, partially polarized, or unpolarized state of light can be represented by a Stokes vector; and any optical element can be represented by a ...
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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?