The Power of Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Because light is an electromagnetic wave, other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays, microwaves, and radio waves exhibit similar properties.
Practical Optics: Rays on Travel
Most optical phenomena can be accounted for using the classical electromagnetic description of light. Complete electromagnetic descriptions of light are, however, often difficult to apply in practice. Practical optics is usually done using simplified models. The most common of these, 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: diffraction and interference
Physical optics is a more comprehensive model of light, which includes wave effects such as diffraction and interference that cannot be accounted for in geometric optics. Historically, the ray-based model of light was developed first, followed by the wave model of light. Progress in electromagnetic theory in the 19th century led to the discovery that light waves were in fact electromagnetic radiation.
Light as Wave or Particle
Some phenomena depend on the fact that light has both particle and wave-like properties. Explanation of these effects requires quantum mechanics. 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.
Optical science is relevant to and studied in many related disciplines including astronomy, various engineering fields, photography, and medicine (particularly ophthalmology and optometry). Practical applications of optics are found in a variety of technologies and everyday objects, including mirrors, lenses, telescopes, microscopes, lasers, and fibre optics.
International Year of Light 2015
In this International Year of Light (IYL2015) optics science play- as a key-light influencer – a prominent role in the program. We kindly support raising a global awareness of the beauty and importance of light!
Also, we follow with interest the developments around Luxexcel’s inventive ‘Printoptical Technology‘. From time to time you will find here posts on further developments and advancements of 3D printed optics.
Finally, we expect that 3D printing lighting and – components will affect and change the overall light engineering, manufacturing and application landscape.