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Unformatted text preview: Optics In the study of optics, the study of light and its interactions, we are going to see three main different approximation regimes, according to the following table: Table 1: Different regions of approximation in optics. Here, is the light wavelength, D is the typical physical size of the experiment, E ph is the photon energy, and E equipment is the typical energy sensitivity of the equipment or apparatus. D E ph = hf E equipment geometrical optics disregard wave character D E ph = hf E equipment physical optics classical wave properties D E ph = hf E equipment photon picture Complete picture QED Geometrical Optics Fermats Principle : Light traverses the path between two points which takes the least time. More accurately, light moves along a path for which light travel time is stationary. (It doesnt have to be a minimum; it could also be a maximum or a saddle point! Even a minimum can be sometimes a global minimum or a local minimum; we shall see examples for both cases.) That is, the light travel time on the actual path is not much different than on nearby paths....
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