Encyclopedia > Optics

  Article Content

Optics

Optics is a branch of physics that describes the behaviour of light and the interaction of light with matter. Optics also covers the study of the properties of optical radiation.

The field of optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, infrared and ultraviolet light; however since light is a electromagnetic wave, analogous phenomena occur in X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. Optics can thus be regarded as a sub-field of electromagnetism. Some optical phenomena depend on the quantum nature of light and as such some areas of optics are also related to quantum mechanics.

Optics, however, as a field is often considered largely separate from the physics community. It has its own identity, societies, and conferences. The pure science aspects of the field are often called Optical Science or Optical Physics. Applied optical sciences are often called optical engineering. Applications of optical enginering related specifically to to illumination systems is called illumination engineering. Each of these disciplines tends to be quite different in its applications, technical skills, focus, and professional affiliations.

Because of the wide application of the science of "light" to real-world applications, the area of optical science, and optical engineering tends to be very cross-disiplinary. You will find optical science a part of many related disciplines including electrical engineering, physics, psychology, medicine, and others.

Table of contents

Classical Optics

Classical or geometric optics, sometimes called ray optics is the branch of optics that describes light propagation in terms of rays. Rays are bent at the interface between two dissimilar media, and may be curved in a medium in which the refractive index is a function of position. The ray in geometric optics is perpendicular to the wavefront[?] in physical optics[?].

Geometric optics of:

Modern Optics

Modern Optics is a term used to describe areas of optical science and engineering that became popular in the 20th century. These areas of optical science typically relate to the electromagnetic or quantum properties of light but do include other topics.

Other Optical Fields

Every Day Optics

Optics is part of everyday life. Rainbows and appearances of Fata Morgana or the Green ray are examples of optical phenomena which illuminate the subject.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Fermion

... states that fermions have half-integer spin. The elementary particles which make up matter are fermions, predominantly quarks (which form protons and neutrons) and ...