Category Archives: Optics basics

Optics basics: reflection

It’s been some 5 years since I wrote my last “Optics basics” post!  The goal of that series of posts was to introduce some of the most fundamental concepts in optics in a non-technical way, in part so I wouldn’t … Continue reading

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Optics basics: refraction

In all of my discussions of basic principles of optics, I’ve so far neglected to talk about one of the most fundamental and important: refraction!  In short, refraction is the bending of a ray of light when it passes from … Continue reading

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Optics basics: vector fields

In my regular discussions of optics and electromagnetic fields in general, I use a lot of pictures with arrows on them.  For instance, my post on Faraday’s law has the curious figure, where the red arrows represent the “electric field” … Continue reading

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Optics basics: surface plasmons

My goal in my “basics” series of posts is not just to introduce the most elementary topics in optical science, but also to give background on some of the more advanced concepts for future reference.  Much of my own research, … Continue reading

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Optics basics: lasers!

One of my goals in blogging has been to run a series of posts covering the “basics” of optics, namely those concepts that form the basis of an understanding of the more advanced topics investigated by researchers today. Though I’ve … Continue reading

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Optics basics: Young’s double slit experiment

As I’ve so far been restricting my ‘optics basics’ posts to discussions of fundamental concepts related to optics, it might seem strange at first glance to dedicate a post to a single optical experiment.  What will hopefully become clear, however, … Continue reading

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Optics basics: Inverse problems

In previous posts, I’ve talked at some length about computed tomography (CT) and optical coherence tomography (OCT).  Each of these is a technique for determining information about the internal structure of an object, such as the human body, from exterior … Continue reading

Posted in Invisibility, Optics, Optics basics | 6 Comments

Optics basics: Coherence

In previous optics basics posts, the interference of waves has played a major role.  When two or more monochromatic (single-color) waves are combined, they form a pattern of light and dark regions, in which the combined light fields have constructively … Continue reading

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Optics basics: Polarization

In a previous ‘basics’ post, I discussed the three major branches of optical science. My specialty, physical optics, involves the study of the wave properties of light. In particular, there are three major phenomena in physical optics: interference, diffraction, and … Continue reading

Posted in Optics, Optics basics | 13 Comments

Optics basics: Defining the velocity of a wave

How do we define how fast a wave is going? The question at first glance seems obvious. When we discussed harmonic waves in a previous post, we observed that the velocity of the wave could be measured by measuring how … Continue reading

Posted in Optics, Optics basics | 4 Comments