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Geometric optics, at the base of many studies and experiments, not only scientific. Also behind many works of art, there is geometric optics, its rules and exceptions that can be done or granted to those who are a true artist to make everything seem more credible. Scientists cannot afford it, however, who use it as a basis for studying optical phenomena and designing advanced tools of observation of microcosms and macrocosms.
Geometric Optics in Physics
To investigate the origins of this branch of Optics we have to go a long way back in time, in fact we have already wondered several centuries ago what rules there might be in propagation of light, for example, with mirrors and glasses, lenses and more.
L'geometric optics deals with optical phenomena with a such approach: assumes that light is propagated by straight rays. Over time, thewave optics, the geometric one remains valid in this sense when the light interacts only with objects much larger than its wavelength.
Geometric optics: lenses
To understand thegeometric optics, usually we "play" with the lenses, going to see what happens to the rays that pass through various types and why. In this sense we are interacting with objects with dimensions much larger than the wavelength of light so we can go to studying rectilinear propagation, reflection and refraction giving an approximate explanation, but sufficient in many cases. This applies to light and lenses but also when rays are found interact with mirrors, prisms and optical systems built with a mix of lenses, mirrors and prisms.
Geometric optics: exercises
The exercises in geometric optics they can also be very funny, they are cases of light hitting lenses and mirrors and by applying simple laws you can see what can happen in reality with a pretty good approximation. However, in order to resolve them, it is necessary to know the laws and know how to apply them. Let's see the most important. There Law of propagation rectilinear states that in a vacuum light propagates along straight lines, this is true in the air but also within any homogeneous medium.
The Laws of reflection they explain that when an orthogonal congruence of rays affects a surface of discontinuity, it generates a new orthogonal congruence of rays. This new reflected ray is in the plane defined by the incident ray and perpendicular to the surface at the point of incidence. Don't be afraid: the geometric optics when it comes accompanied by drawings, it is much easier, the utterances frighten.
There are also the Laws of refraction, also called di Snell, that tell what happens to a ray of light that crosses a surface of discontinuity between two different materials: it is deflected. And in addition to the refracted ray, there is always also a reflected ray.
Geometric optics: mirrors
Here is a great set of 16 adhesive mirrors for your geometric optics experiments. On Amazon the whole set costs 9 euros, each mirror measures 15cm x 15cm and, as well as useful, they are also decorative. You can compose what you want by expanding your rooms and your minds.
Geometric optics: experiments
The funniest experiments in geometric optics are undoubtedly those that have to do with optical-geometric illusions, here is a review collected in a simple and fun volume but also serious in explanations. At 33 euros, also on Amazon. Among the experiments, however, there are not those on Light Therapy which is actually applied instead and not because it is experimental, in some situations it works!
Geometry optics: formulas
The formulas that derive from the laws of geometric optics aredeductible from Fermat's principle, if we assume that the refractive index is inversely proportional to the speed of light in the medium considered. In the formulas, you find this index for the various media that we are examining, conventionally it is a number that is obtained from the assumption that that of the vacuum is 1. Knowing that the speed of light is maximum in vacuum, it follows that the refractive index of all other substances is greater than 1.
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