Unit 7: Optics
An optical phenomenon involves the interaction between electromagnetic waves and matter. We will focus on visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light, but much of the study of optics will apply to some extent to radio waves and x-rays. The complete study of optics involves enormously complex mathematics, a thorough understanding of both classical and quantum optical effects, and a great deal of ingenuity for success.
For the purposes of this course, optics will be limited to the classical description of electromagnetism provided by Maxwell's equations: the full wave optics. Even this level of description is quite complicated for most optical phenomena, so we will apply simplified models to develop a basic understanding of how optics works. In geometric optics, we assume that all light travels in straight lines. In paraxial optics, we assume that all optical systems handle light rays near a symmetry axis of the optical system, which allows us to largely ignore aberration, a vast array of terribly complex optical effects.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.