Ch 15: Wave Optics

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn the basics of wave optics. The quizzes that follow each lesson can help you assess your own understanding of the materials.

Wave Optics - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

A solid understanding of wave optics is essential to basic physics. The video lessons in this chapter will lead you through the processes of how mirrors work, ray tracing, polarization and diffraction. You'll learn key laws and principles related to wave optics and how to resolve equations. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • How different kinds of mirrors reflect light
  • How polarization works
  • What diffraction is
  • Types of diffraction
  • How a Michelson interferometer works

Video Objective
Mirrors: Difference Between Plane and Spherical Describe plane and spherical mirrors, and state the differences between them.
Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images Explain the process of ray tracing with mirrors.
Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions Demonstrate how to use equations to solve mirror questions.
Thin Lens Equation: Examples and Questions List examples of thin lens equations and questions.
Using Equations to Answer Images Questions Explain how to use equations to solve images questions.
Polarization of Light and Malus's Law Explain the concept of polarizing light; define Malus's Law.
Polarization by Reflection and Brewster's Law Explain the concept of polarizing by reflection; define Brewster's Law.
Diffraction and Huygen's Principle Describe Huygen's Principle and how it applies to diffraction.
Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern and Equations Explain single-slit diffraction, its interference pattern and related equations.
Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern and Equations Explain double-slit diffraction, its interference pattern and related equations.
Multiple-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern and Equations Explain multiple-slit diffraction, its interference pattern and related equations; define diffraction gratings.
How Thin Film Interference Works Describe what thin film interference is and how it works.
Michelson Interferometer: Applications Describe the Michelson interferometer and how it's used.

13 Lessons in Chapter 15: Wave Optics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

1. Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

A mirror surface can produce clear reflections due to its smooth surface. Explore the difference between the two types of mirrors, plane and spherical, and the problem with aberration that is solved using parabolic mirrors.

Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

2. Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

Ray tracing is a simple way to draw what would otherwise be dozens and dozens of photons of light to illustrate reflected images. Learn about the law of reflection and how to draw a ray tracing diagram with a mirror using an example.

Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions

3. Using Equations to Answer Mirror Questions

Equations can be used to answer mirror questions in order to predict what an image will look like. Learn the basics of mathematically calculating mirror images, including using lens equations, then practice what you learned with example calculations.

Thin Lens Equation: Examples & Questions

4. Thin Lens Equation: Examples & Questions

The thin lens equation is used to make predictions on what a lens will do. Explore the types of lenses and how to use the thin lens equation, with example calculations and questions.

Using Equations to Answer Lens Questions

5. Using Equations to Answer Lens Questions

Lens equations are those that calculate the imagery observed through a lens. Learn how these equations function, calculate answers to questions about the images that a given lens will produce regarding size, inversion, and clarity.

Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

6. Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

Polarization is essentially filtering out the chaotic light-wave oscillations to achieve a more clear, and 'polar' experience of light. Explore how glasses, screens, and radios polarize, and understand Malus's law, which calculates the way to dim light to polarize effectively.

Polarization by Reflection & Brewster's Law

7. Polarization by Reflection & Brewster's Law

Polarization by reflection occurs as light bounces off a reflective surface, and is polarized in the process. Identify the reason for this through examples, and see how Brewster's law explains why the angle of refracted rays can calculate the polarization.

Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

8. Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

Diffraction is the spreading of a wave when encountering an obstacle, or a slit. Discover different types of diffraction in real-life examples, and explore Huygen's principle that explains the observed behavior of waves and wavelets.

Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

9. Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

Single-slit diffraction occurs when light spreads out when passing through or around an object if one color light is used and a relatively thin slit is used. See the pattern in this diffraction and learn the equation that explains the observations made.

Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

10. Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

A double-slit diffraction is the observed effect where light passing through two slits creates beams that interact with each other. Explore the interference pattern and equations that explain the observed phenomena with light passing through double-slits.

Multiple-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

11. Multiple-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

A diffraction grating is a grid of slits scratched into glass in a crisscross pattern and has many different uses, from medical imaging to genetic research and fiber optics. Learn more about different uses of diffraction gratings and how to use the equation for calculating the maxima through real-world examples.

How Thin Film Interference Works

12. How Thin Film Interference Works

Thin film interference is an observed pattern of distortion that occurs as thin layers of substances are stacked onto of each other. Learn how this is caused similar to sing/double-slit refraction, and the equation used in an example problem demonstrating constructive, and destructive film interference.

Michelson Interferometer: Applications

13. Michelson Interferometer: Applications

A Michelson interferometer is a device that splits a beam of light in two and then recombines them into one. Learn more about the Michelson interferometer's characteristics, history, purposes, and applications.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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