Optics – Establishment and Types

What are optics?

A branch of physics that deals with the behaviour as well as the properties of light is known as optics. Moreover, this subject is also inclusive of the interactions with not only matter but also the construction of those instruments which are used or detect the same. In essence, optics are part of that subject which describes behaviour of the following – (1) visible (2) infrared light & (3) ultraviolet.

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The reason for such a thing is that light has been known to be an electromagnetic wave while on the other hand, the other forms of the electromagnetic radiation like that of the microwaves, X – rays or the radio waves tend to exhibit similar properties. In addition to this, optical phenomena is to be accounted for as it uses classical electromagnetic description of the light. As electromagnetic descriptions of light can be applied in practice (but not all of them) hence, practical optics makes use of the simplified versions.

What is geometric optics?

One of the common seen things is that of the geometric optics which treats light to be the collection of rays. These rays travel only in straight lines besides being bent whenever they pass or even reflect the surfaces.

What is physical optics?

On the other hand, physical optics talks about being one of the comprehensive models of light. And the reason for such a statement is that this physical optics has wave effects like that of the diffraction apart from the interference. Moreover these can never be accounted for in the geometric optics.

In addition to the above stated things, the ray – based model of light is said to be developed 1st which was then followed by none other than the wave model of light. With time & technological improvement in the 19th century, it came to be known that there were light waves. However, with further discoveries & inventions apart from the work carried out, it came to light that the light waves were nothing but the electromagnetic radiation only.

Quantum optics

Furthermore, it has been noticed that light seems to have wave – like as well as particle – like properties & this gave birth to the explanations sought after in quantum mechanics. Hence, when a light’s particle – like properties are in question then light can be termed to be modelled on photons which are in turn a collection of particles. Thus, quantum optics is a subject that can be said to be dealing with nothing but the application of the quantum mechanics to that of the optical systems.

Where is optical science useful?

If the uses of optical science are in talk then it makes itself to be useful in the fields of astronomy apart from many other engineering fields. The other fields which make use of optics are photography, medicine in general & optometry & ophthalmology in specific. And as far as the practical use of optics is concerned then optics can be found in lenses, telescopes, lasers, mirrors, fibre optics & the microscopes.

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