# Physical optics

Branch of optics that studies interference, diffraction, polarization, and other phenomena for which the ray approximation of geometric optics is not valid.

- Physical optics93 related topics

## Ray (optics)

Idealized geometrical model of light, obtained by choosing a curve that is perpendicular to the wavefronts of the actual light, and that points in the direction of energy flow.

Ray optics or geometrical optics does not describe phenomena such as diffraction, which require wave optics theory.

## Optics

Branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it.

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.

## Coherence theory (optics)

In physics, coherence theory is the study of optical effects arising from partially coherent light and radio sources.

## David Brewster

British scientist, inventor, author, and academic administrator.

In science he is principally remembered for his experimental work in physical optics, mostly concerned with the study of the polarization of light and including the discovery of Brewster's angle.

## Double-slit experiment

Demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles; moreover, it displays the fundamentally probabilistic nature of quantum mechanical phenomena.

He believed it demonstrated that the wave theory of light was correct, and his experiment is sometimes referred to as Young's experiment or Young's slits.

## History of physics

Branch of science whose primary objects of study are matter and energy.

Five years after the publication of his Horologium Oscillatorium, Huygens described his wave theory of light.

## French Academy of Sciences

Learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research.

The civil engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel entered this competition by submitting a new wave theory of light.

## Leonhard Euler

Swiss mathematician, physicist, astronomer, geographer, logician and engineer who founded the studies of graph theory and topology and made pioneering and influential discoveries in many other branches of mathematics such as analytic number theory, complex analysis, and infinitesimal calculus.

His 1740s papers on optics helped ensure that the wave theory of light proposed by Christiaan Huygens would become the dominant mode of thought, at least until the development of the quantum theory of light.

## Photoelectric effect

Emission of electrons when electromagnetic radiation, such as light, hits a material.

This appeared to be at odds with Maxwell's wave theory of light, which predicted that the electron energy would be proportional to the intensity of the radiation.

## Paradigm shift

Fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a.

The transition in optics from geometrical optics to physical optics with Augustin-Jean Fresnel's wave theory.