Optical amplification used widely in astronomical observatories and "magnifying" used in microscopes.

What's the difference between "optical amplification" and "magnifying"?


Optical amplification is a process where one captured photon triggers the release of an electron inside the apparatus which then releases more electrons, etc. in a process called photomultiplication.

This can also be done when the incident photon causes the injection of an electron into a semiconductor junction, which is then sent to an amplifier which generates a far larger current in response. In this case, the amplification is performed electronically rather than optically.

Magnification is the use of lenses or mirrors which collect photons over a large aperture and focus it down to an imaging apparatus which can be the human eye, a piece of photographic film, or a solid state device or photomultiplier as described above.


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