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Ch 61: Understanding Ray Optics

About This Chapter

Use this overview of ray optics to improve your understanding of rectilinear propagation of light, thin lenses, and Snell's Law. These lessons will help you feel better prepared to take an exam or engage in a class discussion.

Understanding Ray Optics - Chapter Summary

In this chapter on ray optics, brief lessons cover topics such as double-slit diffraction and the mechanics of wave refraction. Additionally, you will learn about Brewster's Law and polarization by reflection. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the rectilinear propagation of light
  • Explain why we see images reflected in different objects
  • Recall details about Snell's Law and the index of refraction
  • Describe the effect prisms have on white light
  • List common types of thin lenses
  • Calculate the total magnification of an object
  • Explain what light is
  • Provide real-life examples of diffraction

A brief quiz is available for each lesson to test your understanding of ray optics, and you can also contact our instructors with any questions. The quizzes link back to specific topics in the video, so if you get a question wrong you can quickly review that topic. Our instructors provide helpful illustrations in each lesson to assist you with grasping the concepts presented.

10 Lessons in Chapter 61: Understanding Ray Optics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Rectilinear Propagation of Light: Definition & Examples

1. Rectilinear Propagation of Light: Definition & Examples

A light source emits light rays in all directions. In this lesson, we'll learn how specifically light travels and compare it to the motion of other objects.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

2. 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.

Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

3. 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.

What is a Prism? - Definition & Refraction

4. What is a Prism? - Definition & Refraction

In this lesson, you'll learn about the prism and what prisms do to white light. You'll explore the properties of light waves, as well as the concept of refraction, which causes white light to bend in a prism and spread out into the different spectrum of colors.

Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

5. Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

We are around many thin lenses throughout our daily lives, but most of us don't really know what this means. In this lesson, we'll explore the measurements of lenses, the common types of thin lenses, and the different ways they affect light.

Magnification: Definition, Formula, Calculation & Examples

6. Magnification: Definition, Formula, Calculation & Examples

In this lesson, we'll explore what magnification means as well as some of the many tools that enable you to magnify small objects. We'll also consider how to calculate the total magnification of an object and how its magnified size relates to its actual size.

The Wave Theory of Light: Definition & Evidence

7. The Wave Theory of Light: Definition & Evidence

After completing this lesson, you will be able to explain what light is and why we thought it was nothing but a wave before the 20th century. At the end, test what you've learned with a short quiz.

Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

8. 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.

Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

9. Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

This lesson explores double-slit diffraction, including the significance of Young's double slit experiment and how the diffraction pattern forms. You will also learn to use equations to calculate the positions of minima and maxima in the pattern.

Polarization by Reflection & Brewster's Law

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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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