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Geometrical Optics Principles

1.1    WAVE NATURE OF LIGHT AND FERMAT’S PRINCIPLE

The nature of light is one of the most difficult concepts in modern physics. Because of its quantum nature, light has to be considered in some experiments as an electromagnetic wave and in others as a particle. However, in ordinary optical instruments, we may just think of light as an electromagnetic wave with an electric field and a magnetic field, mutually perpendicular, and both perpendicular to the path of propagation. If the light beam is plane (linearly) polarized, the electric and the magnetic fields have a constant fixed orientation, changing only in magnitude and sign as the wave propagates. The electric and magnetic fields are in phase with each other, ...

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