4

The Physics of Multiple- Prism Optics

4.1 Introduction

Multiple-prism arrays were first introduced by Newton (1704) in his book Opticks. In this visionary volume, Newton reported on arrays of nearly isosceles prisms in additive and compensating configurations to control the propagation path and the dispersion of light. Further, he also illustrated slight beam expansion in a single isosceles prism. In his treatise, Newton does provide a written, qualitative, description of light dispersion in a sequence of prisms, thus providing the foundations for prismatic spectrometers and related instrumentation. In this chapter, a mathematical description of light dispersion in generalized multiple-prism arrays is given. Although the theory was originally ...

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