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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1answer
319 views

Fermat principle: which index of refraction?

I am somewhat puzzled by a common formulation of the Fermat principle (light travel time), because it contains index of refraction related to phase velocity while light travel time through a slab of ...
-1
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2answers
192 views

Bolometer calibration - voltage and intensity

I am interested in possible hazards due to high intensy infrared light sources. Therefore I want to use the "PASCO TD-8553 radiation sensor" (website) to measure the intensity of the radiation of an ...
3
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5answers
234 views

Light refraction and causality

One way how to look at refraction by a dielectric medium like water or glass is that (phase) velocity of light decreases because it is the wavelength rather than the frequency of the light which ...
1
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1answer
990 views

Find the dispersion of the slab?

I've been having trouble with this for a few days and already used up all my tries on the homework for it, but have the final is coming next week. Thus I would like to know how do this, however I ...
8
votes
1answer
144 views

Third-order susceptibilities of metals?

Can anyone point me to a source for measurements of the third-order nonlinear electric susceptibilities $\chi^{(3)}$ of various metals? Specifically in relation to the AC Kerr effect, so measurements ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

How does Newton's 2-prism experiment help to explain why light does not get dispersed into 7-colors in a parallel glass slab?

In a real parallel glass slide(with two prisms imagined to be touching each other to form a parallel glass slide), The ray of light should pass through the Z in between without any dispersion or ...
5
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6answers
4k views

Is it possible to witness a circular rainbow?

What conditions would make it possible to see a naturally occurring fully 360° circular rainbow? Would it even be possible?
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1answer
172 views

Rear Projection 3d figures?

From the wikipedia page on a now prominent 3d virtual idol "From 'Things often confused with holograms' on the Wikipedia page linked above: 'In 2010, there was a series of concerts ... which included ...
1
vote
1answer
295 views

Number of Images from pair of plain mirrors?

Basically not exactly a homework, but I came across this problem. I have two plain mirrors angled at 60 degree angle. An object is placed in between symmetrically. What will be the number of total ...
2
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3answers
10k views

3d holograms - How are they created?

How do 3d holograms work exactly? I read that there is a laser in use, but how are the multiple perspectives generated and how is the light trapped? in a certain area to create the effect? ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Can anyone explain to me why light is not dispersed into a spectrum through a parallel glass slide, but only through a prism?

The question pretty much sums up what I need to know. Why is it that light only gets dispersed into a spectrum when travelling through two non-parallel sides(like a prism) and not through something ...
11
votes
1answer
390 views

light ray 'entropy'

Is there something like an entropy law for light rays? I came up with the following experiment: A black box has two circular holes in it, a small and a large one. I don't care about there ...
2
votes
1answer
371 views

What's the mathematical background to the representation for Gaussian beams?

Background A general optical system (not necessarily having an axis of rotational symmetry) can be represented, for small deviations from a base ray, by the matrix transfer equation, $$ ...
6
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1answer
362 views

Are two polarization states of light coherent?

Let's consider a situation: we have distant point source of unpolarized light in certain non-zero range of wavelengths (it's polychromatic). Let's divide this light into 2 beams depending on ...
3
votes
1answer
386 views

How does a flat wedge lens work?

I've been seeing this lens in a lot of places especially microsoft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rJ1p5SD3sOM#t=45s ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

Can spatial coherence be maintained in fiber optic cables over time?

I am doing research with a double slit experiment, using a beam splitter and 2 lengths of fiber optic cable, whose ends brought close together form the effective double slit. I notice that the ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

References for Radio Imaging?

I'm really intrigued by a bunch of questions like 'what do radio waves look like?' 'how much RF radiation is there in the town I live in?' 'how specifically does RF imaging work?' But I think I need ...
7
votes
2answers
614 views

How does infrared light 'erase' phosphorescence on zinc sulfide?

I found some sheets of zinc sulfide in my basement that phosphoresce green for up to 24 hours or so after exposure to bright light in the violet range or shorter. One of the first things I tried was ...
-3
votes
2answers
349 views

About change in velocity of a light wave as it enters a different medium [closed]

$\dfrac {sin\theta1}{sin\theta2}=\dfrac {v1}{v2}=\dfrac {n2}{n1}$ I understand this equation, but what is the velocity of a light wave going through air and what is the velocity/change in velocity as ...
3
votes
3answers
163 views

Can a light beam be used as a wire for telephony?

I've heard that Edison (maybe) invented a way to talk over a light beam. Is this true and how do you modulate the light beam?
3
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4answers
3k views

Why does change in speed of a wave make it refract?

When a light wave enters a medium with a higher refractive index (e.g. from air to standard glass) and its speed decreases, why does that make it refract/bend? I understand that wavelength decreases ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Efficiencies of Coupling Light into a Fiber

I am in AMO Physics and work a lot with optics. I just wanted to get an idea of what coupling efficiencies one "should" get in a "reasonable time"* by coupling light into a fiber using different ...
0
votes
1answer
238 views

How to define the required aspherical coefficients for a lens?

I would like to purchase my own aspherical lens for testing purpose. Then I need to define the required coefficients. But how? My known requirements are f=25mm F/# 2.0 and MTF 0.5 @ 120lp/mm with a wl ...
2
votes
1answer
250 views

Curved lines in a picture (Photography)

My problem is when I take a picture (a close one) the straight edge looks a little curved. In a standard camera, like a CyberShot. I would like to know if there is some relationship between the ...
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2answers
1k views

Eliminating IR light reflection perceived by a steep viewing angle

I am having a problem with reflection on an acrylic surface, in the IR part of the spectrum. This reflection is interfering with an algorithm that looks at objects, as it makes two show up when only ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How to compute the intensity of a polarized wave going through a polaroid?

If an electromagnetic wave is linearly polarized, the intensity of the light that goes through a polaroid is proportional to the square of the cosine of the angle between the polarization plane and ...
1
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1answer
120 views

size and distance of mirror used in projected “smart” whiteboard

Apologies in advance for complete ignorance of optics (beyond conic sections) How is the size, distance, and angle of the mirror used here calculated? The mirror is I believe the open flap in front ...
4
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1answer
537 views

Polarization rotation: Jones Matrix that maps Horizontal to right circular

I am looking at the Poincaré sphere and I am trying to compute a Jones matrix for a particular rotation. Specifically, I would like it to perform the following maps: $O :|H \rangle \rightarrow |R ...
13
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5answers
621 views

What longest time ever was achieved at holding light in a closed volume?

For what longest possible time it was possible to hold light in a closed volume with mirrored walls? I would be most interested for results with empty volume but results with solid-state volume may ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Where is a good place to learn (classical) optics?

I need to learn basic optics for a high school academic competition. Does anyone know any good places, preferably free and online, to learn the basics of optics, like lenses, angles of incidence, ...
6
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2answers
69 views

How much detail can telescopes actually provide?

For example, could the numbers / letters on a postage stamp in a randomly specified location be clearly visible from space. This is to settle a discussion with a friend that piqued my curiosity.
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3answers
526 views

Intensity distribution of a LED light source

The light source: 190 high power LEDs in NIR. I have the datasheet of the LED. I want to make a graph showing the spatial distribution, and to measure the intensity of the beam on the whole field of ...
1
vote
2answers
199 views

Can a complex lens be represented by wavefront aberrations?

Usually complex lenses are described by their geometric design - usually a sequence of spherical cap sufraces and materials. The lens behavior, ie. how it transfers rays, can be evaluated by ray ...
45
votes
1answer
8k views

Why does a window become a mirror at night?

In day, when you look in the room through the window out, you can clearly see what happens outside. At night when it's dark outside but there's light inside you can look in the window but it becomes a ...
1
vote
1answer
587 views

Calculating Kramers-Kronig using Mathematica [closed]

First of all, I know there is a Mathematica group in beta, but I don't think the problem of the following is directly a Mathematica issue. I am trying to calculate the change of the refractive index ...
5
votes
2answers
320 views

Accuracy of various optical instruments

I understand that this may not be the type of question allowed here, but I'm not sure. Feel free to close this if you feel that it shouldn't be here I'm planning on carrying out a certain set of ...
4
votes
2answers
444 views

How to adjust feather touch focuser for collimation?

I have a Starlight Instruments feather touch focuser for my Dobsonian telescope. While trying to collimate the secondary mirror with the focus all the way in, I noticed that my Howie Glatter laser ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Clarification needed in the concept of apparent depth & real depth

I understood the concept of apparent depth from here: But one thing I didn't understand is, will there be difference in the real depth and apparent depth when we are looking not at an angle as ...
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0answers
118 views

Matlab package: graphical calculus for quantum operations including beam splitters and polarizing beam splitters [duplicate]

I need a matlab package that will make my life easier. I have quantum circuits with optical beam splitters, polarizing beam splitters and photodetectors. These circuits are getting very complicated ...
18
votes
7answers
7k views

How can a human eye focus on a screen directly in front of it?

I am asking this question here because I think the answer has something to do with the way light is bent as it's captured through the eye. I saw a show a while ago about tiny screens on contact ...
3
votes
3answers
652 views

Why do cameras have double lenses?

I was wonder why cameras the good ones have two lenses instead of one? what benfit does it carry with this fact? I have told that old cellular phones have camera with one lens and hence it blurring ...
6
votes
4answers
22k views

What makes some laser beams visible and other laser beams invisible?

What makes the beam of some lasers: 1-visible? such as the ones used in clubs or such as the laser pointers sold at amazon which if pointed to the sky look like a solid visible beam of light ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Does a charging capacitor emit an electromagnetic wave?

Assume you charge a (parallel plate) capacitor. This establishes an electric field (the $\mathbf E$ vector points from one plate to the other) and a circular magnetic field (the $\mathbf B$ vector ...
3
votes
1answer
274 views

How it's possible to enhance the depth effect of 3d pictures without increasing the cameras distance?

I always thought that for a 3d picture, which is in fact 2 pictures that are displayed one for each eye, the more far the cameras are, the more "depth" you will see. And it's a fact i think. So, for ...
2
votes
0answers
183 views

projective camera: back-projecting a point on the image plane into 3-space

suppose I got a projective camera model. for this model I would like to back-project a ray through a point in the image plane. I know that the equation for this is the following: $$ y(\lambda) = P^+ ...
2
votes
1answer
474 views

Origins of the principle of least time in classical mechanics

Is it possible to derive the principle of least time from the principle of least action in lagrangian or hamiltonian mechanics? Or is Fermat's principle more fundamental than the principle of least ...
7
votes
1answer
656 views

Does a perfect mirror behave the same as a blackbody radiator?

If I put a perfect mirror(i.e. reflects with no attenuation) next to a blackbody radiator its spectra should be the same as the blackbody radiator. Looking only at the spectra - is there any ...
1
vote
1answer
244 views

Is there a known optical design for a beam compressor?

With my little knowledge of optics I have come across some 'known' designs such as the Double Gauss for example, is there a 'beam compressor'. My requirements are to reduce an incoming parallel ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Why (infra-)red light is not used in diagnostics?

I noticed that human body conducts red visible light quite well. A hand placed over a powerful red lamp seems to be semi-transparent while over any other color it does not. Possibly the light ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Wavelength dependent refractive index

I read in a book about optical fibers that the different spectral components of a light pulse transmitted in the fiber propagate with different velocities due to a wavelength dependent refractive ...