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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Factors affecting the size of a shadow

What factors affects the size of a shadow and how would you derive the diameter of a shadow of a circular object on a flat screen?
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With a box that has perfect mirrors on the inside would it be possible to trap light? [duplicate]

With a box that has many perfect relective mirrors, would it be possible to trap a beam of light in the box indefinetly?
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Is it possible to surpass the diffraction limit for telescopes?

Telescopes have angular diffraction limit depending on the observed wavelength and aperture diameter. I've read that it's possible to go beyond the limit for microscopes. But is it possible to do the ...
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How to draw a ray diagram from focal length, object and image heights?

Q. An object of height 8 cm is placed in front of a lens. It's inverted image of height 4.8 cm is formed on the screen. If the focal length of the lens is 12 cm then by drawing at scale calculate the ...
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Why is Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA) preferred over Erbium Doped Waveguide Amplifier (EDWA)?

Why is Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA) preferred over Erbium Doped Waveguide Amplifier (EDWA)? The question has been asked from an engineering point of view, but obviously I would also be ...
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Calculate the distance between two points from iPhone Camera

I want to calculate the distance between two objects using an iPhone camera. Suppose I'm standing with my iPhone 10 feet away from the objects. Now, I want to calculate the distance between those ...
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152 views

Polarization of Light

How do materials polarize light? I know that they polarize light in the same plane, but light has two perpendicular directions with the two fields, so which direction is reflected and why? And if ...
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401 views

Photo of reflection in magnifying mirror shows normal magnification. Why?

I just took a picture of myself in one of those magnifying shaving mirrors and in the photo I am unmagnified! Why is this?
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Heat deposition at optical focus in a clear medium

This is an applied physics question for an engineering problem. The well known experiment we have all done--burn paper and wood with a magnifying glass and the sun's rays. My question is, if one were ...
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Penetration of light in the atmosphere

While I was considering an answer to this question, I wondered how much light that enters the atmosphere reaches the ground without colliding with air molecules—if any. I've taken a good bit of ...
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198 views

Manufacturing Fresnel Lenses with Sound

I understand fresnel lenses are manufactured using CNC machines. I was wondering, if it would be possible to use sound to vibrate liquid silicon and then fast cool it into the standard form of a ...
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878 views

Optics alignment of a confocal scanning microscope

I am facing a challenge in my project regarding optical alignment. See the figure: The challenge is with the vertical optical system alignment. I considered placing a mirror and check back if the ...
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What's the physical significance of using fourier transform for diffraction?

I am studying some basic idea of diffraction and there mention in far field, the diffraction pattern could be understood by Fourier transform. But I just don't understand what's the physical fact for ...
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Reflection of a polarised beam

The past days I've been trying to understand how AutoFocus(AF) works on photographic cameras. There is a statement that says AF systems are polarisation sensitive. This means that they can only work ...
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Reflectivity of a glowing-hot metal surface

When a polished piece of metal (or steel in particular) is heated to incandescence, how do its reflective properties change? Given a mirror-like surface, would the object temporarily cease to act ...
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248 views

Hyperopia, Far Sightedness

With hyperopia, the focal point is behind the retina, shouldn't this mean that the image is flipped on the retina itself from what is usual? I must be drawing my ray diagrams wrong. A little ...
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151 views

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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228 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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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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81 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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681 views

Light Ray Reflection from concave mirror

Suppose a ray of light hits a concave mirror and is parallel to the principal axis but far away from it such that it doesn't follow paraxial ray approximation. Will it pass through focus or between ...
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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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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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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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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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535 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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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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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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192 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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328 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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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 ...