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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
8answers
683 views

Is there a lens that would invert my vision?

Would I be able to invert my vision by mounting a particular lens in front of each eye? I am currently able to achieve this by mounting a right-angled triangular prism across both eyes. The specific ...
56
votes
3answers
12k views

Why can we see the dust particles in a narrow beam of light (and not in an all lighted area)?

Let us say that I am sitting in a room with all the drapes open. Bright sunlight is coming through the window. The whole room is brilliantly lighted. I will not be able to see the dust particles ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

When viewed from a telescope, does an object get more magnified if its angular diameter is increased?

and if yes, how can the diameter be increased? Lets say I want to view saturn from a small telescope. Increasing the angular diameter will give a better magnification if the answer to the above ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Determining the limits of an integral

In Griffiths' Introduction to Electrodynamics, Problem 1.28 (the triangular prism question) is especially challenging for me. I do not know how the limits of x are 0 to (1-y). My concern is the ...
0
votes
2answers
135 views

Length of solid part of object shadow

Little background first: I take part in preparing environmental reports for wind turbines/farms and now I'm exploring shadow flickering effect of moving blades. From some sources (in Polish) I got ...
3
votes
3answers
351 views

What electric field vector should I use for modeling unpolarized light?

Regardless of computational cost, light is a kind of electromagnetic wave, so it can be simulated with Maxwell's equations. If we want to simulate light with Maxwell's equations, we need to express ...
1
vote
2answers
332 views

How to test cutoff frequency of IR filter on camera?

Modern cell phones seems to come with IR filters on their cameras. I want to do an experiment to figure out what wavelengths these filters allow to pass and which they block. How would I go about ...
0
votes
1answer
910 views

conceptual meaning of “virtual image” [duplicate]

I am trying to learn about optics and I am having a hard time understanding the meaning of "real" vs "virtual" image. My understanding is that for a concave mirror, the image focuses on the same side ...
4
votes
4answers
303 views

Thin lens formula

Can someone help me or guide me how the thin lens formula: $$\frac{1}{s_1}+\frac{1}{s_0}=\frac{1}{f}$$ can be proven? I was trying to prove it on my own using similar triangles, only to fail.
0
votes
1answer
224 views

Infinite Mirror Face to Face With Infinite Two Way Mirror

If you are in deep space, and there is an infinite plane mirror, and in front of it there is another infinite mirror that is two way, with the see through side towards you, what do you see? Is it the ...
4
votes
1answer
193 views

How does light pass through rough glass?

Light incident on a rough surface will be diffuse after passing it. Angular intensity depends on the grinding of the glass surface. I'm trying to find information about the scattering indicatrix of ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why would an object appear a different size when in water?

A friend of mine has a homework question and we're having some trouble figuring out what physical mechanisms come into play for this. An underwater swimmer sees a spherical air bubble that appears ...
7
votes
1answer
172 views

does the beam of a laser have 'throw'?

I was thinking about Einstein's train and platform experiment and was wondering if a beam of light experiences throw? Let me explain, if I take a water hose and point it straight out and then swing ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does aperture size affect depth of field in photography?

Why do small and big holes (the aperture) in a lens change the depth of field in the image? (if you have big hole you have smaller depth of field). I wondered if I should ask this on ...
1
vote
1answer
547 views

Explanation of photon reflection [duplicate]

What occurs in atomic scale that cause the photon to be reflected? In other words, what is the reason for photons to change its direction and why material can reflect certain wavelengths and absorb ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

Refraction of light in medium

Given that the plane $y=0$ separates the vacuum ($y>0$) from the optical medium ($y<0$), I would like to calculate the trajectory of a light ray starting at the point $(x_1,y_1)$ and ending in ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Is it possible for a material to shift the frequency of all light reflected off of it by a specific and constant value

Without reducing the energy more than necessary due to the frequency decrease? And if this happens/works, is there an index of such materials and their optic properties?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Explain reflection laws at the atomic level

The "equal angles" law of refection on a flat mirror is a macroscopic phenomenon. To put it in anthropomorphic terms, how do individual photons know the orientation of the mirror so as to bounce off ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

Creating small polarised scientific lenses?

How would I go about creating small polarised scientific lenses? Thinking 5mm by 5mm, with a light-source behind it for the purposes of reducing (polarised) surface reflection (assisted with a ...
2
votes
1answer
295 views

Optical Waveguide's “Base Bandwidth”

Consider a dielectric slab waveguide (lossless, isotropic) illuminated transversally from the vacuum (with coherent, monochromatic light). We define the base bandwidth of a waveguide (or optical ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

How is Fermat's least time principle proven?

How is Fermat's least time principle proven? Or it is what usually is observed and is basis for the theories?
1
vote
3answers
349 views

What limits laser pulse duration to single cycle?

Why pulses shorter than single cycle cannot propagate in free space ? Is there fundamental reason or it is engineering ? Is it possible for a laser pulse to have bandwidth that can support half cycle ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Why removing one slab in Michelson-Morley experiment causes an elliptical fringe pattern?

I performed Morley experiment using He-Ne laser. Two glass slabs were there and circular fringes were formed but when I removed one slab elliptical fringes were there (and less intense fringes). Why? ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Analytic solution for angle of minimum deviation?

Consider a simple prism with a prism angle $A$, angle of incidence $\theta_1$, angle of emergence $\theta_4$ and the first and second angle of refraction as $\theta_2,\theta_3$. the refractive index ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

Can coherent light also be polarized?

I need to know if it is possible to polarize coherent light using a Wollaston prism. And would the resultant (2) beams of polarized light still be individually coherent?
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Amateur moon laser ranging

Questions first, then my rough estimations: 1) Is it possible to perform moon laser ranging with amateur motorized 114mm telescope? My calculations suggest that for 1mJ laser it should receive ~2 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does a CD work as a diffraction grating even with light from a light bulb?

I have a really hard time solving the following problem I accidentally came across today. Looking at the back of a usual CD one sees coloured bands. This is explained by the fact that the surface ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the relationship between concentration and refraction rate in a solution?

I am supposed to determine the concentration of a solution of ethyl alcohol and cyclohexane by measuring its refraction rate. Now I have some standard sample of the solution at concentrations 10%, ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

Principle of Reflection on atomic level

The well observed phenomenon has besides several others has always been a fascination to me, we are well aware of several theories, experiments and practical applications of the well known phenomenon. ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

counting refractive index of a plano convex lens [closed]

suppose that, there is a plano convex lens and its thickness is 5.00cm. If you watch it straight from the convex side, it seems that its of 4.4 cm. What is the refractive index of this lens?
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Can polarization effect the coherence length?

I'm taking an optics lab in which I'm required to construct an interferometer, and measure the wavelength of a laser, and the coherence length of the light emitted from a candle fire. Now, I've been ...
1
vote
1answer
185 views

Thin lens formula workout method (Query)

In order to workout the method for establishing the formula of thin lens, my teacher says that the optical path is: $PA + AQ = PS_1 + nS_1S_2 + S_2Q$ ($n$ is the refractive index of the ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Polarization of light

So for my experimental optics class, I had to create a device that would emit horizontally polarized light such that its intensity is independent of an incoming linearly polarized beam of arbitrary ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Are there any known, non-spectroscopic effects of EM directly on Light?

Photons have no charge. Light is a form of electromagnetic energy. All spectroscopic effects (to my knowledge) are due to changes in electron state, induced either through an interior or exterior EM ...
1
vote
1answer
169 views

Semiclassical description of EM waves reflection from metallic surfaces

Imagine an EM wave impinging on a metal. Fresnel's formulas tell us that no wave can propagate through the metal, or that the transmitted field is an evascent wave with some penetration depth ...
0
votes
3answers
591 views

How do 3D glasses work?

I am really curious as how do 3D glasses work. I know that they uses some kind of circular polarizers but how does this actually make the screen jump right out at you?
7
votes
2answers
172 views

Educational applications of a small Michelson interferometer?

The community college where I teach has some nice old Michelson interferometers. There appear to be a bunch of versions of these that used to be sold (may still be sold?) which were all probably ...
10
votes
3answers
865 views

What causes atoms to have their specific colors?

I understand that light (color) is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that it depends on what wavelengths are reflected/absorbed. Though what property of an individual atom gives it its color? ...
5
votes
4answers
198 views

Why can't we perfectly focus light-abberations aside

I don't understand why there is necessarily a diffraction limitation on optical systems. Where does this limitation in focusing light come from?
4
votes
5answers
586 views

Could the speed of light change outside our solar system

Theory: The speed of light changes when it enters or exits the solar system due to a difference in medium (dark matter possibly). Potential problem 1: refraction If there was a speed change at the ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

Additive Trichromatic Color: Seeking Answer for a Fun Application

I'm not the brightest person and I was wondering if it was possible, in the same way that it's possible to make ink that's visible under UV light, if it's possible to make ink that requires a distinct ...
0
votes
2answers
768 views

Reflection formula for spherical surface from Fermat's principle (Query)

The snip shows a part of the method shown by my teacher, to describe the reflection formula for spherical surface. However I do not understand how the relation of AB and BI (which I have ...
5
votes
3answers
558 views

Beam splitters and Mach-Zender interferometers

I have a question (my very first here) related to 50/50 beam splitters as used in the Mach-Zehnder interferometers (see for example the Wikipedia page). Let's concentrate on the input beam splitter: ...
2
votes
0answers
304 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM) of a transmission spectrum

I have a transmission spectrum of a material which has been fit to a Lorentzian. According to Wikipedia here and here, FWHM is the spectral width which is wavelength interval over which the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between propagating and evanescent waves

Currently I am reading about super lens and came across these two waves, propagating and evanescent. If a negative index material is used as a lens then both propagating and evanescent can be passed ...
1
vote
1answer
367 views

Speed of approach between image and object

A plane mirror image approaches the object at the same rate the object approaches the mirror. So the speed of approach is twice the speed at which the object approaches the mirror. If the object ...
5
votes
3answers
12k views

How fast does light travel through a fibre optic cable?

The principle behind a fibre optic cable is that light is reflected along the cable until it reaches the other side, like in this diagram: Although I know that the light is slowed down somewhat ...
2
votes
3answers
159 views

Law of refraction from Scalar Diffraction Theory

I am trying to figure out if Snell's Law for refraction can be derived from Scalar Diffraction Theory. The setup is this: light (plane wave, with wave vector $\vec k_i = (k_x, k_y, k_z)$ ) falls on ...
0
votes
1answer
299 views

Magnification for a concave mirror

Here is the question as given in my textbook: Find the distance of the object from a concave mirror of focal length 10 cm so that the image size is 4 times the size of the object. The solution ...