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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In interferometry, what is the origin of the name “Airy function”?

In interferometry (specifically, in the domain of Fabry-Perot cavities), the function $$f(\phi) = \frac{1}{1 + F \sin^2 \phi}$$ , which describes the shape of the resonant structure of the cavity, is ...
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What is the difference between surface plasmon and surface plasmon polariton?

I'm trying to understand this reading article linked below and I still don't know how to explain this simply, without need to derive everything mathematically. Can someone just write here how do SP's ...
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170 views

Will overlapping two different beams of coherent light cause interference?

I have two laser beams with same polarization running parallel to each other. Will they interfere? If yes, then what are the conditions (perpendicular distance etc) and how can I observe the ...
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Inverse Fourier Transform Of K-space Image…what is the object space scale?

Checked around a buch and could not find any help. But I needed help with: Understanding that if I get the Inverse FT of K-space data, what is the scaling on the X-space (object space) resultant ...
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308 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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176 views

How can some optical microscopes measure height differences of different sample planes with nanometer accuracy?

I could use last week an optical microscope, didn't seem special in any way, 50x magnification, image viewable per a CCD camera on a computer screen besides through the ocular. But the software of ...
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222 views

Filter out polarized light

Unpolarized light enters the polarizer and gets polarized at one certain angle. If we place an analyzer behind the polarizer and align them, we observe that all light is transmitted. If we rotate the ...
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191 views

On the optics of high-resolution surveillance drones

In this youtube video (which is an except from a documentation I believe) a DARPA development for a high-resolution surveillance camera is presented. This question is regarding the optics that are ...
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274 views

Do wide-angle videos make the first-person view seem slower than perceived in real life?

I considered posting this on other SE sites such as Audio-Video Production and Photography, but I didn't feel I'd get the definitive, fact-based (rather than experience-based) answer I'm seeking. ...
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How does the grid on the microwave oven window prevent microwave radiation from coming out?

If I look through the microwave window I can see through, which means visible radiation can get out. We know also that there is a mesh on the microwave window which prevents microwave from coming out. ...
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353 views

Effect of a wavefront deformation on the far-field diffraction pattern of a TEM00

By performing Matlab simulations on a TEM00 mode (approximated by a gaussian intensity profile with a flat wavefront), I got the impression that applying wavefront deformations (such as a single ...
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363 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 ...
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64 views

Should I be concerned about spot corrosion on a telescope's primary mirror?

I am considering buying a telescope with a large primary mirror that is about seven years old - it has a small spot of corrosion on the mirror, that the owner says is stable. Should I be concerned ...
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215 views

What sets the resolution on analog film?

When taking a picture with old fashioned film what sets the resolution of the picture? Is it the wavelength, or the chemical makeup of the film?
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188 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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540 views

How does phase modulation conspire to eliminate power variations?

A purely phase-modulated signal has no power modulation. This is obvious enough if you look at the time series, but I'd like to "see" it in the frequency domain. In physical terms, if we take a ...
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137 views

Reconciling total internal reflection and the evanescent Wave

I understand that light is guided in a dielectric waveguide via total internal reflection. My question is regarding the origin of power contained in the evanescent field traveling along the direction ...
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35 views

How would the composition of the Venusian atmosphere visually affect the sunrise and sunset there?

The Venusian atmosphere is according to CalTech's webpage What is the atmosphere of Venus like? is 90 times heavier, than Earth's, containing predominantly carbon dioxide, some nitrogen, sulfuric acid ...
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114 views

Possibility for contact lenses that enhance the vibrancy of color

Would it be possible to develop oculars that would enhance the vibrancy of color? I know there are many digital filters to improve vibrancy, but are there physical devices able to produce the same ...
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368 views

Problem in Youngs double slit experiment

This is from Young Double slit experiment. But How to prove the the two $\theta$ are equal, I meant, how $\angle EAD= \angle PEC$? I see from the both triangle have $90^0$ but what about others?
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Diffraction pattern when wavelength tends to zero

While studying about Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction, I came across a statement which says that the fringes disappears and the image would take on the limiting shape of the aperture when wavelength ...
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95 views

Is diffraction through an aperture similar to diffraction by a plane of atoms?

I'm asking because I have a problem asking me what the diffraction pattern would be if instead of spherical atoms I'd have triangular atoms. I can't find anything about this in my X-ray diffraction ...
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1answer
288 views

Light scattering vs roughness

I've been searching for an answer to this question in professional circles for a while; now I'd like to ask here, to find out why the answer is not there :) In my optical modelling (computer ...
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41 views

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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193 views

double slit experiment with two opposite quarter waveplates

Consider the usual double slit experiment involving laser and a double slit and a screen. Now place in front of the left slit a quarter waveplate (let's call it QWP1) that changes a certain linear ...
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235 views

Future space-based telescope array

Radio-telescopes (e.g. the Very Large Array (VLA)) can simulate one gigantic dish by using separate smaller dishes. Q: Could such an array of optical telescopes potentially see an exoplanet at say 20 ...
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122 views

How does a 2D MEMS based optical cross-connect control its mirrors?

Concerning fiber optics, I'd like to know how a 2D MEMS based optical cross-connect is able to switch optical signals. I've read that these mirrors are controlled with electrical signals to be either ...
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55 views

Does a “reflected” hologram produce a caustic in the shape of the original object?

Imagine you make a transmission hologram, ala the standard picture. Now you take your photographic plate, and everywhere it is transparent, you put a thin reflective layer on, and everywhere it is ...
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627 views

How does a holographic object change perspective when the image is rotated?

Fundamentally i want to know: How do holograms work? The problem with that question is that normally you will end up with pages and pages talking about: a laser a beam splitter a diffuser the ...
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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 ...
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213 views

what is the probability distribution for the angle of an approximate laserbeam

I'm trying to simulate the light distribution characteristics from a Gaussian laser beam, but having difficulty with the angular distribution. I need to generate a large number of points on an x/y ...
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962 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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Output of a beamsplitter with photon number (Fock) state inputs

Given a beamsplitter drawn below, where $\hat{a}$ and $\hat{b}$ are input modal annihilation operators, transmissivity is $\tau\in[0,1]$, and output modal annihilation operators are ...
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The physics behind Google Glass' “prism”

In writing a bachelor's thesis about applicable use cases for Google Glass in retail I also strive to explain the physics behind Glass' optics. So far I've come to the following conclusions: Glass ...
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Light, Fourier Transforms, Spherical Harmonics

Mathematically, I'm having trouble understanding where we can use what with light. I read somewhere on this site that Huygen's Principle is effectively just taking an expansion of a wave onto the ...
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62 views

Blonde hair looking green at certain angle

I have a friend who has blonde hair. And when look at an oblique angle, there's a tinge of light green in her hair. I've heard that the copper ion in pool water can make blonde hair green, but her ...
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How does a microscopes optics expose defects in the users vision?

I've got cataracts in both eyes. My vision is correctable to 20/30, so the cataracts are essentially a non-issue in daily living. But when I use a microscope, which I do daily, (binocular, zoom ...
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Focused beam of light

I'm trying to understand what happens to photons when a beam of light is focused down to its waist. In the image attached, do photons take the path 1 or 2. That is, do the photons cross or just get ...
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Optical Bloch Oscillation

I have a doubt about how the optical Bloch oscillations happen in a 1D photonic crystal. I try to explain: in a photonic crystal with discrete translational symmetry in one direction I superimpose a ...
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How do laser rangefinders work when the object surface is not perpendicular to the laser beam?

I find the functioning of a laser rangefinder confusing. The explanation usually goes like this: "you shine a laser beam onto the object, the laser beam gets reflected and gets back to the device and ...
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989 views

Why are color values stored as Red, Green, Blue?

I learned in elementary school that you could get green by mixing blue with yellow. ...
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Free Optics Simulation Programs

I'm having an extremely difficult time finding an optics program that is easy to use and offers accurate physics simulations. I'm not asking for much, I just want to be able to simulate a laser going ...
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Difference Between Fraunhofer and Fresnel Diffraction

What is the difference between Fraunhofer diffraction and Fresnel diffraction? I mean diffraction is just bending of light waves or waves in general around a point. So how can there be two types of ...
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What is a two-photon process?

I am reading some introductory materials on modern optics, in which they mention two-photon processes everywhere. I know fundamental optics and a bit on quantum mechanics. Can anyone explain in a ...
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325 views

How are we able to view an object in a room with bulb..?

This is a very basic question on optics. How are we able to view an object kept in a room with a bulb? From what I understand, light rays from bulb will hit the object and some colour will be ...
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107 views

Is it possible to focus the sun in such way?

Imagine the sliding part of the mirror is controlled by computer and opens on intervals. Is it possible to increase the power of the beam by making it bounce between the mirrors thus going through ...
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337 views

Diver view of refraction

I'm studying the refraction in optics. If a red light monocromatic beam of red light (700 nm) passes from air to water it becomes with a wavelenght of aprox 526 nm. So, my question is: How is going ...
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121 views

What's the difference between Raman scattering and second harmonic generation in crystal?

As far as I know, the Raman scattering is from the stokes and anti-stokes scattering that the laser light interact with molecular vibrations. So we know that ""laser light interact with molecular ...
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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 ...
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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 ...