13 October 1995 Concept of coherence of learning physical optics
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Abstract
The aim of the actual paper is to enhance achievements of the text 'Optica Fisica Basica: estructurada alrededor del concepto de coherencia luminosa' (in English 'Basic Physical Optics centered in the concept of coherence'). We consider that this book is a very worth tool when one has to learn or to teach some fundamental concepts of physical optics. It is well known that the topics of physical optics present not easy understanding for students. Even more they also present some difficulties for the teachers when they have to introduce them to the class. First, we think that different phenomena like diffraction and polarization could be well understood if the starting point is a deep comprehension of the concept of interference of light and, associated with this, the fundamental and nothing intuitive concept of coherence of the light. In the reference text the authors propose the use of expression 'stable interference pattern of no uniform intensity' instead of 'pattern of interference' and 'average pattern of uniform untested' instead of 'lack of interference' to make reference that light always interfere but just under restrictive conditions it can be got temporal and spatial stability of the pattern. Another idea we want to stand out is that the ability to observe a 'stable interference pattern of no uniform intensity' is associated not only with the coherence of the source but also with the dimensions of the experimental system and with the temporal and spatial characteristics of the detector used - human eye, photographic film, etc. The proposal is well support by quantitative relations. With an alternate model: a train of waves with a finite length of coherence, it is possible to get range of validity of models, to decide when a source could be considered a 'point' or 'monochromatic' or 'remote', an 'infinite' wave or a train of waves, etc. Using this concept it is possible to achieve a better understanding of phenomena like the polarization of light. Here, it is easier to recognize limitations of the model of light. For example, in the interpretation of the effect of retarding plates on polarizated light. When the plate is wider than the coherence length of the wavetrain of light, the effect disappears.
© (1995) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Elisa M. Colombo, Elisa M. Colombo, Mirta Jaen, Mirta Jaen, Leonor C. de Cudmani, Leonor C. de Cudmani, } "Concept of coherence of learning physical optics", Proc. SPIE 2525, 1995 International Conference on Education in Optics, (13 October 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.224066; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.224066
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