1
$\begingroup$

Are there optical systems that make a ray of light travel a different way to (fig A) and from (fig B) ? Does this type of device experience significant losses?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

What you're asking for is known technically as a non-reciprocal optical system, i.e., an optical system which breaks optical reciprocity (see also this link).

Most 'standard' optical systems are reciprocal, which means that behaviour like the one specified in your figures is impossible using 'vanilla' optical elements.

However, there are indeed exceptions, and these are practical enough that they can be built up into practical optical devices, with the most common application being optical isolators.

$\endgroup$

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.