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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508 views

Are the fast axes on Thorlabs quarter-waveplates mislabeled?

Some members of my lab are performing a polarization-sensitive experiment where they need to use a quarter-waveplate (QWP) with the fast axis in a specific direction. In the process of carefully ...
8
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233 views

Suntan: UV absorption vs daytime

I guess that these questions were being asked by many people on the Northern Hemisphere during this summer (and other summers) and someone may give a nice, coherent answer. The general question is how ...
8
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114 views

mode-locking a laser on prime-powers' frequencies

Being rather a theoretician than an experimental physicist, I have a question to the community: Is it experimentally possible to mode-lock a laser (fixed phase relationships between the modes of the ...
6
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128 views

Why can I turn light red or blue by holding my finger up to it?

This is a difficult phenomenon to explain. Imagine you have an opaque object partially covering a very bright light source, for example, an object held up against the sky. The left hand diagram is ...
6
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170 views

How would we see the earth if refraction of light was significantly stronger?

On worldbuilding.SE there is a question about the cosmological consequences of a world with super-high refraction and atmosphere opaqueness. I'm assuming the easiest way to minimally change the laws ...
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64 views

What's the size of the smallest possible CCD/CMOS pixel size?

For a given wavelength $\lambda$, is there a limit on the size of the sensor pixel, regardless of the optical equipment attached to the sensor?
5
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174 views

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 ...
5
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230 views

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 ...
4
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62 views

How can I precisely measure the intensity of the Hydrogen Alpha (Balmer) line at low intensities?

I assume that I will need some kind of very precise filtering, but how is that accomplished? After that, photon counting at worst, but I am expecting millions of photons per second. The background is ...
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101 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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98 views

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 ...
3
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49 views

False sunset and false sunrise time estimation

False sunset and false sunrise are described . Here is a sample day rise and set time according to AccuWheather site and calculated value of sunrise and sunset in my country. Could you please help ...
3
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46 views

3D movie optics mathematics

I get the idea that we use two polarized light sources and a parallax rendered film such that the objects seem to resemble true parallax in our eyes once it passes through the polarized glasses, but ...
3
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65 views

Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process?

Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process? Can it be explained by conservation of energy? If so, does temperature has an effect on refraction of light?
3
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41 views

Beating the Diffraction Limit with NSOM

I am trying to understand exactly why we can beat the diffraction limit when using near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM). For those who aren't familiar with NSOM, check out this article: ...
3
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132 views

How to calculate desired light path in continuous medium with gradient refraction index

See the Figure below. $O:(0,0)$ is the disk center of light source $\odot{O}$ with radius $3$. Then the profile light rays of disk $O$ from the view point $B:(-14,0)$ is defined by segments $DB$ ...
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52 views

What does it mean for a Fresnel lens to have two finite conjugates?

I'm in a situation where I need to reverse engineer a product that my company already manufactures and sells, but it wasdesigned too long ago for anyone to remember. It uses a Fresnel lens with the ...
3
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94 views

Why isn't Zemax showing a tilt on the wavefront on my telescope design?

Attached is a Zemax file Zemax File for an afocal telescope system. When i tilt the field by an angle of 2 degrees (In green) I would expect a wavefront tilt at the "Image " plane, however when I ...
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72 views

Clarification about Bragg's law explanation

The Wikipedia has this illustration of Bragg's law and then says The two separate waves will arrive at a point with the same phase, and hence undergo constructive interference, if and only if ...
3
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49 views

Entanglement g-2-experiment - Which components do I need?

I would like to measure whether my source emits entangled photon pairs. To that order I want to build a g-2-experiment, which measures photon coincidence counts as a function of time delay between ...
3
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109 views

Rotating a Gaussian Beam

I need to see how the phase fronts of two gaussian beams interact when they intersect with each other. The two beams are tilted towards each other so that they intersect each other at their respective ...
3
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0answers
69 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
78 views

Mathematical approaches to atmospheric refraction

Understanding atmospheric refraction, particularly of ultraviolet, and into the blue part of the visible spectrum is of great interest to me. Although, I have a strong background in trigonometry and ...
3
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113 views

Superposition principle and polarization

I am reading an optics book (Physics of Light and Optics by Peatross and Ware) that asserts this: A beam of light can always be considered as an intensity sum of completely unpolarized light and ...
3
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183 views

Maximum-Entropy Method deconvolution implementation?

I am looking for an implementation of the Maximum Entropy Method for image deconvolution, ideally in MATLAB or Mathematica. I'm trying to reconstruct an image from fringe visibilities, as is often ...
3
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371 views

Pockels effect/Kerr effect

In Pockels electro-optic effect, change in Electric field produces change in refractive index/ birefringence. Moreover this effect becomes electric field squared in the case of Kerr effect. If we ...
3
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2k views

How does autorefractor work?

Autorefractors are being used by eye opticians for eye diagnosis. I searched internet for articles and wiki page as well but I wasn't satisfied. I am interested to know how do they actually work. How ...
3
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56 views

SHS Interferometer and diffraction limit

I'm currently researching Spatial Heterodyned Spectrometers (SHS) and I'm a bit at a loss understanding the influence of the diffraction limit. I'll be measuring a diffuse visible light source with ...
3
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166 views

Bandgap Spacing in Photonic Crystals

I am doing some self-study on photonics and have encountered the following question: We know that amorphous electronic crystals such as amorphous silicon have a bandgap. Can amorphous photonic ...
3
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70 views

A problem concerning the change of temperature and spectrum of a filament

The spectrum of a filament has been given before, the left one having the lowest temperature, the middle with a medium temperature and the right one with the highest. My question is this: Why does ...
3
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206 views

Is it possible to calculate the work function of a metal with basic lab equipment?

ive been given a problem in physics, its to prove if a lump of metal we have been given is real gold or not. one way to to do it would be to work out its density, which is fairly easy, mass/volume. ...
3
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80 views

Optics: finding total power of a syste, including wavelength

Specifically I need to create an ABCD matrix given 2 radii of curvatures, the thickness of the lens, type of glass (BK7) and a given wavelength. I will have to figure this out eventually, so help ...
2
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59 views

General proof of formulas of geometric optics?

In most lf textbooks formulas of geometric optics like lens maker formula and base formula for that are proven (or rather verified from my point of view) by taking specific case (ray diagram) and ...
2
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30 views

Determining the spatial imaging resolution based on a pinhole diffraction pattern

I aimed a 780 nm/1mW laser at a 1μm pinhole and took a picture of it using a lens and a CCD camera. The magnification of my imaging system is ~25 times. I wrote some code that takes the image of the ...
2
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148 views

The optics of vortex (in water): why there is a bright ring?

This picture is from this YouTube video from "Physics Girl", which shows how you can generate vortices in a swimming pool by using a plate: And there she explains the creation of the shaded circle ...
2
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42 views

Resolution of two frequencies

If I am trying to resolve two features in frequency space, with central frequencies A and B and a 'spread' (standard deviation, FWHM etc.) of $\sigma_A$ and $\sigma_B$ what is the spectral separation ...
2
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23 views

statistical property of light reflected from a coarse mirror

This is a problem comes up in my study in correlation reflectometry. I'm wondering if there is a straight-forward way to interpret the phase and amplitude of the reflected light from a perturbed ...
2
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0answers
30 views

Limits on the information obtained through optical measurements

Consider a Gedankenexperiment shown in the figure below. There are two lasers $S1$ and $S2$ with exactly the same specifications on paper. In practice, they are of course somewhat different but ...
2
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31 views

How accurately do Airy discs need to be superimposed in an optical interferometer to create fringes?

In an astronomical optical interferometer, what is the largest amount of error in the alignment of the Airy disks of point source star images from different arms of the interferometer that will still ...
2
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45 views

How to deal with coma and oblique spherical aberration in a Czerny Turner configuration?

I am modelling my own spectrometer using Zemax when all of a sudden I've been told that: even if you manage to optimize the angles or positions of the grating and the mirrors, you won't get ...
2
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0answers
69 views

Why do spatial filters use microscope objectives, and not other types of lenses?

A spatial filter is a device to 'clean up' a laser beam with an irregular intensity profile, and create a smooth Gaussian profile at the output. It is usually said (e.g. here) that you need a ...
2
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30 views

Is there any review paper on spatial light modulator?

I need a review paper on the various types, principles and characterization of spatial light modulator. But it seems I could not find one. Any one has a good idea?
2
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0answers
61 views

Usefulness of half-shade in Laurent half-shade polarimeter

In the Laurent half-shade polarimeter, if the half-shade weren't there, what difference would it make? The light after being polarized by the Nicol polarizer,could have entered the tube containing the ...
2
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0answers
31 views

Rayleigh scattering question

Usually from books, Rayleigh scattering only refers to the light scattering by neutral atoms or molecules. For example if I want to measure temperature or number density in combustion using Rayleigh ...
2
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35 views

Fraunhofer Diffraction and Lenses

Suppose we have the diffraction pattern for a single slit in the Fraunhofer approximation. In order to see this diffraction patter at finite distance we locate a converging lens. Is the diffraction ...
2
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48 views

Rayleigh length determination for Laguerre-Gaussian Modes

Recently I have measured the Rayleigh length of a Gaussian electron beam probe in a scanning electron microscope, using the function: $$w(z) = w_0 \times \sqrt{1 + (z/z_r)^2}$$ Where $w$ is beam ...
2
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0answers
54 views

How to calculate the focal length of spherical shell (zero meniscus lens)

I can get my head around the optics of a spherical shell (a meniscus lens that neither diverge nor converge, being neither positive nor negative etc). I don’t see how I can describe in a formula how ...
2
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0answers
64 views

A lens with a variable refractive index

(60th Polish Olympiad in Physics) A planoconvex lens of radius of curvature $R$ and thickness $d$ (on the optical axis) is made of a material, whose refractive index changes with the distance from ...
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40 views

Model of scattering in wet things

You know that clothes and some surfaces become darker when wet (covered in an earlier question: why wet is dark?), because of the disordered reflections or of the refractive index of water or ...
2
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120 views

A Circle of light

I'm working on a project that refers to optics. the question says when a laser beam is aimed to a wire ( perpendicular to the surface ), a circle of light then will be seen on a the surface. I ...