Optics

The field of optics studies optical phenomena. Optical phenomena result from the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter.

About optics
  • Optics is the branch of physics that describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light.
  • Optical phenomena include absorption, dispersion, diffraction, polarization, reflection, refraction, scattering and transmission.
  • Most optical phenomena can be accounted for using the classical electromagnetic description of light – wavelength, frequency and intensity.
  • Geometric optics treats light as a collection of rays that travel in straight lines and bend when they pass through or reflect from surfaces.
  • Physical optics is a more comprehensive model of light and includes wave effects such as diffraction and interference that cannot be accounted for in geometric optics.
  • Quantum mechanics deals with the fact that light has both wave-like and particle-like properties. .
  • When considering light’s particle-like properties, the light is modelled as a collection of particles called photons.
  • Quantum optics deals with the application of quantum mechanics to optical systems.
  • Practical applications of ray diagrams are found in relation to a variety of technologies and descriptions of how everyday objects work, including mirrors, lenses, telescopes, microscopes, lasers, and fibre optics.