Chapter 1

Optics and Instruments 1

1.1. Introduction

If you were to ask people on the street what “optics” means for them, most people’s responses would tend to identify optics with the glasses industry, photography and possibly with CD recording. This is because the public is aware and is in contact with these areas. But optics is a science that affects every aspect of human activity. It covers a vast spectrum, ranging from X-rays to millimeter waves, which means it has a bearing in numerous fields. With various manufacturing techniques, optics forms the basis for many components.

Optics is the science that deals with the emission, transmission, manipulation and detection of light. It is a discipline frequently used by humans, as it corresponds to one of our most used senses — vision. It currently covers a truly vast area, and is unquestionably growing. Most of the progress in optics is attributable to the emergence of lasers. For long, use of optics has been limited to the visible spectrum and the traditional applications of images. However, the development of new sources of light, along with related technical progress have resulted in the creation of new applications for optics in nearly all areas of life: communications, medicine, the spatial sector, industries, etc.

Optics is closely associated with other areas such as mechanics, electronics and computer science, and has facilitated the development of a considerable number of instruments, in which the optical component is ...

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