Suppose there is a lens and a mirror. An object is placed in front of this system (nearer to the lens). If the final image of object (refraction, reflection and again refraction) is formed on the object itself, then must the each ray falling on the mirror be perpendicular to the mirror so that it can retrace its path? Is there no other situation except this in which the image of the object will form on the object itself?enter image description here


The rays don't have to be perpendicular to the mirror for this to happen. Here is an example.

Let the lens be a converging lens of focal length $f$. If the object is a distance $2f$ away from the lens, and the lens is a distance $2f$ away from the mirror:

  1. The image of the object through the lens is co-located with the mirror, inverted and real. Call this image 1.
  2. The image of image 1 through the mirror coincides with image 1, and is inverted (relative to the object orientation). Call this image 2.
  3. The image of image 2 through the lens is co-located with the object, upright (relative to the object) and real. Therefore it coincides with the object.

The rays forming image 1 and reflecting off the mirror are not all perpendicular to the mirror. What's happening here is each ray not retracing its own path, but that of another ray emitted from the same point in the object. So each ray transmitted through the optical system ends up at the point it was emitted from.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah! but Let the 1st image not forms at mirror and it is at some distance from mirror then will it be possibe ,( we are allowed anything to do for that) $\endgroup$ – Abhishek Ambast Aug 22 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ The final image will coincide with the object only if the first image is formed either at infinity (the case you mention in your question) or on the mirror (as in the example I gave). $\endgroup$ – Puk Aug 22 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ But I have a situation when object isn't forming at infinity neither at mirror but final image is forming at object. $\endgroup$ – Abhishek Ambast Aug 22 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ The rays becoming parallel to each other and the optical axis (and perpendicular to the mirror) after going through the lens the first time as in your case means the first image is formed at infinity, which is just another way of saying the rays don't intersect (i.e. are parallel). $\endgroup$ – Puk Aug 22 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ In my uploaded case 1st image is forming at 1.2m behind the mirror so 2nd image will form at (1.2-0.8)=0.4m in front of mirror so final image will be image of 2nd image which will be formed by lens, but here no any image is forming at infinity neither at mirror , $\endgroup$ – Abhishek Ambast Aug 22 at 9:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.