APPENDIX D Gaussian Optics and the Principal Planes



The essence of Gauss’s theory can be captured without complicated equations. Using the ray in Figure 9.4(b) as an example, the argument goes as follows. The ray on the left side of surface A1 is described by its distance (x1) from the axis and the angle (α1) it makes with the axis. This description is denoted by the symbol (V1):


The effect of surface A1 on the ray is described by the “operator” R1. On the left side of surface A1, the ray is described by V1 and on the right side it is described by R1 V1 which we call 1. This is an important step, because I have introduced the concept of ...

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