OPTI 201R
Fall 2010
131
5.5
Paraxial Ray Propagation
!
The propagation of a paraxial ray
in an optical space is
described by a linear equation
:
(“optical space” is a single medium of a single value of refractive index)
(a linear equation? ….no surprise….a ray is a straight line, after all!)

the straightline path that a ray takes is described by a
linear equation called the transfer equation

the angle through which it might be refracted is described
by a linear equation called the refraction equation
!
What is the relationship between a ray in one optical space, and
the same ray in the next optical space?
We need to know:

the index of refraction of the first optical space, n

the index of refraction of the second optical space, n
!

the curvature, C (or the radius of curvature, R) of the
surface that separates these two optical spaces

the yvalue of the ray at the paraxial vertex plane

the direction (angle) of the ray in the first optical space.
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OPTI 201R
Fall 2010
132
5.5.1
Refraction Equation
of Paraxial Optics
Figure 5.9
Paraxial ray trace.
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 Spring '10
 STAFF
 Geometrical optics, Paraxial Optics, paraxial ray trace

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