About This Chapter
Rays, Waves & Wave Optics - Chapter Summary
Refresh your memory or learn new information about rays, waves, and wave optics by going through the lessons in this chapter. While the chapter examines a large amount of information, our instructors have carefully divided it into short, manageable lessons. Each lesson focuses on a single topic, allowing you to get a better grasp on such concepts as wave characteristics, frequency, amplitude, perceptions of light and sound, curved surfaces, Snell's Law, and chromatic aberration. When you reach the end of the chapter, you'll have increased your knowledge enough to do the following:
- Compare longitudinal and transverse waves
- Relate how the five wave parameters are measured
- Explain standing waves and the superposition principle
- Offer examples of the reflection of waves
- Show the applications of the Doppler effect
- Discuss how reflection works
- Relate the principles of dispersion and refraction
- Differentiate between reflecting telescopes and refracting telescopes
- Outline how Huygen's principal relates to diffraction
- Evaluate Brewster's law in connection to polarization by reflection
Many of the lessons in this chapter are in an engaging video format. These videos combine entertaining animation and visual aids with important keywords and definitions. Each lesson comes with a corresponding quiz for self-assessment. If you have any questions about the lesson topics, you can submit them to our instructors through your Dashboard or the Help tab of the lesson.
1. Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples
What comes to mind when you think of a wave? Chances are your mental image takes the form of a transverse wave. But, longitudinal waves are just as important, and understanding the difference is vital to learning about waves. In this lesson, explore both types of waves and the unique characteristics of each.
2. Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed
How do we measure and describe waves? How do waves differ based upon their shapes? This lesson will guide you through the five wave parameters - period, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed - that we use to characterize waves.
3. The Superposition Principle & Standing Waves
After completing this lesson, you will be able to explain what the superposition principle is, and how this leads to the formation of standing waves. A short quiz will follow.
4. Reflection of Waves: Definition & Examples
This lesson will define reflection in the context of waves, summarize the types of reflection, and provide examples of reflection in action. A short quiz will follow.
5. The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications
What is the Doppler effect? How does it affect our perceptions of sound and light? In this lesson, learn how traveling wave sources can change the way we observe sound and light waves. Explore the applications of the Doppler effect on shock waves, sonic booms, and the movements of distant galaxies.
6. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces
How do waves reflect off of surfaces? How do we account for the images that we see reflected in various objects? Discover the answers to these questions as we investigate the rays and angles defining the law of reflection.
7. Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction
Refraction explains why light bends in water. But, did you know that mathematical laws determine exactly how light waves are bent? In this lesson, we'll explore the mechanics of wave refraction, including Snell's Law and the index of refraction.
8. Refracting & Reflecting Telescopes: Key Concepts
This lesson will discuss some key terms and concepts relating to the refracting and reflecting telescope: primary mirror/lens, eyepiece, focal length, focal point, chromatic aberration, and achromatic lens.
9. Diffraction & Huygen's Principle
After watching this video, you will be able to explain what diffraction is, provide some real-life examples of diffraction, state Huygen's Principle, and explain how Huygen's Principle applies to those real-life examples. A short quiz will follow.
10. Polarization by Reflection & Brewster's Law
After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what polarization by reflection is, give a few examples of polarization in everyday life, explain Brewster's Law descriptively and use the equation to solve problems. A short quiz will follow.
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