Basic Optics: Principles and Concepts

“Basic Optics: Principles and Concepts” addresses in great details the basic principles of the science of optics, and their related concepts. The book provides a lucid and coherent presentation of an extensive range of concepts from the field of optics, which is of central relevance to several broad areas of science including physics, chemistry, and biology.With its extensive range of discourse, the book’s content arms scientists and students with knowledge of the essential concepts of classical and modern optics.  It can be used as a reference book and also as a supplementary text by students at the college and university levels and will, at the same time, be of considerable use to researchers and teachers.

The book is composed of nine chapters and includes a great deal of material not covered in many of the more well-known textbooks on the subject. The science of optics has undergone major changes in the last fifty years due to developments in the areas of the optics of metamaterials, Fourier optics, statistical optics, quantum optics, and nonlinear optics, all of which find their places in the book, with a clear presentation of their basic principles. Even the more traditional areas of ray optics and wave optics are elaborated within the framework of electromagnetic theory, at a level more fundamental than what one finds in many of the currently available textbooks. Thus, the eikonal approximation leading to ray optics, the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of ray optics, the quantum theoretic interpretation of interference, the vector and dyadic diffraction theories, the geometrical theory of diffraction, and similar other topics of basic relevance are presented in clear terms.


What is the energy density of a wave propagating in a dispersive medium? What are Sommerfeld and Brillouin precursors? What is the basic idea underlying transformation optics? How does the eikonal equation lead to the equation for ray paths? What is the nature of stationarity in Fermat’s principle and how is it related to caustics? Why is it not necessary to consider skew rays in Gaussian optics? How is wave aberration related to ray aberration? What are the basic configurations in which a Mach-Zehnder interferometer is used? What are the conditions under which the scalar theory of interference is valid? How is Fraunhöfer diffraction related to the idea of a Fourier transform? What is the exact formula for diffraction at a straight edge? What is the relation between Mie scattering and Rayleigh scattering? What is the 4f correlator? What is the classical theory of intensity correlations? What is the mutual coherence function? What is the idea underlying intensity interferometry? What is ‘collapse and revival’ in the Jaynes-Cummings model? What is the master equation for an atom in a cavity? What is the optical Kerr effect? How is squeezing produced in second harmonic generation? What is antibunching?


For answers to these and a great number of similar other questions ranging through the entire subject of optics, you will find it convenient and interesting to turn to the pages of this book.

The presentation is lucid and elegant, capturing the essential magic and charm of physics.

All this taken together makes the book a unique text, of major contemporary relevance, in the field of optics.

 This book has now been published by Elsevier and is available (in print and digital versions) at the following links:

See Table of Contents

14. October 2016 by Avijit Lahiri
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