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A light wave is an electromagnetic wave, and the wavelength that optics studies ranges from the ultraviolet to the middle infrared. The spatial scales involved in most optical applications are much larger than the light wavelength. In these cases, a light wave can be approximately described by a bundle of straight optical rays. The science of studying optical rays that travel through optical media is called “geometrical optics” and is the most widely used field of optics. If the spatial scales involved are not much larger than the light wavelength, the wave nature of light must be considered; the science of studying the wave nature of light is called “wave optics.”
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