Concise Articles, Tutorials & Primers on Science, Math & Technology

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Optics Articles on

Optics & optical physics is a wide ranging topic covering classical optics, ray optics, wave phenomena, quantum physics, diffraction, interference etc... This page displays links to articles on related to any branch of optics.

Optics & Optical Physics is such a huge subject that it could occupy an entire career and then some. (Oh, I just realized, it has been my whole career!) Lasers, remote sensing, visualizing radiation in invisible wavelengths, seeing the very far, seeing the very small, communications through glass fibers, enhancing awareness... Optics is the mode we use to understand our world. Articles linked from this page will range widely and wildly but will all have optics in common.

Zernike Polynomials

Zernike Polynomials used for representation of light beam wavefronts. Represent any 2-D surface as long as it has a circular footprint.

Mathcad file for Zernike Polynomials

Zernike Polynomials MathCAD sheet, in mathcad 2001i format. (Right Click and Select Save File to Download). This sheet calculates the zernike polynomial of your choice and displays a 3D graph. (Requires mathcad from mathsoft)

Short article on the operating parameters of the Fabry-Perot Interferometer

Here are some of the important parameters to know when working with a Fabry-Perot Interferometer or spectometer. Finesse, Free spectral range, angular separation of orders are described.

Stark Effect

The Stark Effect is shown here in the splitting and shifting of spectral lines in hydrogen under the influence of an external electric field. What is the Stark Effect? This article discusses the spectroscopic effect of strong electric fields known as the Stark effect, named for Johannes Stark, the first to experimentally demonstrate the effect.

Vector Form for Snell's Law

Snell's Law in Vector Form. Usually described in simple single plane coordinates, Snell's law is much more useful when you consider possible refraction out of the plane. To accomplish calculations of this type requires a vector form of the law of refraction.
Snell's law is the one of the first things you learn in an optics class. It is the basis of all refractive optics from your eyeglasses to microscopes and telescopes and even much of the information super highway made of fiber optics and the associated components. But the textbook version of Snell's law always seems to be in a contrived coordinate system with all the light travel in the plane of the page. To use a coordinate system that is more natural to the situation, you need a vector form for Snell's law.

Laser Beam Propagation

Basics of Laser Beam Propagation. Here are some of the formulas and descriptions of wave phenomena in coherent beams. This is a work in progress, so please have patience, but go ahead and tell me if you see something wrong!

A Quick View of Fourier Optics

A short mathematical description of fourier propagation of E/M fields through free space and a simple lens. A longer version of this tutorial is found at the end of the pdf file describing laser beam propagation. Click here for the laser beam propagation tutorial.

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