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Introduction to the Physics of Waves by Tim Freegarde

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7

Geometrical optics

7.1 Ray optics

We have seen in Chapter 6 that, in an uninterrupted continuous medium, a wave propagates away from its source along a straight line; and that, when it encounters a change in the properties of the medium, it may be reflected or refracted. These principles are the foundations of the subject of geometrical optics and, although they apply generally to any wave system, the language in such cases usually borrows heavily from the science and technology of optics for which, in so many cases, they were first developed. In the following pages, we therefore apply Snell’s law to determine the behaviour of lenses and imaging systems, which are both of huge significance in their own right and will also form the basis ...

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