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Chapter 1:
Author(s): Bruce H. Walker
Published: 2009
DOI: 10.1117/3.818136.ch1
Optical Engineering Fundamentals is intended to be a “bridge” book, i.e., a book that will carry the reader who is interested in the field of optical engineering from a position of curiosity, confusion, and apprehension, to one of understanding, comfort, and appreciation. While this book alone will not make you an optical engineer, it is hoped that it will enable you to communicate and work closely and effectively with the optical engineer. Should it be your goal to eventually work in the field of optical engineering, this book will provide major assistance in two ways. First, it will provide a basic understanding and appreciation of many fundamental optical principles, thus preparing you to get the most out of the many fine advanced optics texts and courses of study that are available. Second, as you work into the field, this book will serve as a convenient source of valuable reference material. How many of us have said to ourselves (or heard it said), “I don't know anything about optics, but…” and then the speaker has proceeded to conclusively prove that point? It is this author's fondest hope that this book will render that phrase obsolete for its readers. Frequently, an optics subject is brought up in a discussion, couched in terms that are esoteric beyond the understanding of the layperson or novice. This book will provide the reader with a level of knowledge that will assure a degree of comfort in discussing the basics of such topics and exploring their more advanced aspects, as required. For many years the job descriptions for the optical engineer and the lens designer were considered to be quite separate and distinct. Because the science of lens design was so unique, and because the calculations involved were so complex and time consuming, the lens designer rarely had the time or inclination to venture into the more general fields that were the responsibility of the optical engineer. Likewise, the successful optical engineer has traditionally been more than willing to leave the tedious task of lens design to the specialist. However, recent developments in modern technology have led to a significant realignment in these areas.
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