Optical Components of Sensors

  • Jacob Fraden


Light phenomena such as reflection, refraction, absorption, interference, polarization, and speed are the powerful utensils in a sensor designer’s toolbox. Optical components help to manipulate light in many ways. In this chapter, we discuss these components from the standpoint of geometrical optics. When using geometrical optics, we omit the properties of light, which are better described by quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. We will ignore not only the quantum properties of light but the wave properties as well. We consider light as a moving front or a ray, which is perpendicular (normal) to that front. To do so, we should not discuss any optical elements whose dimensions are too small when compared with the wavelength. For example, if a glass window is impregnated with small particles of submicron sizes, we should completely ignore them for any geometrical calculations from the near infrared to longer wavelengths. Another example is diffractive grating. Its operation cannot be described by the methods of geometrical optics. In such cases, the methods of quantum electrodynamics (QED) need to be used. Just briefly we will address the emerging field of nano-optics. In this chapter, we summarize those optical elements that are most applicable for the sensor design. For more detailed discussion of geometrical optics, we refer the reader to special texts, for example [1,15,17].


Refractive Index Geometrical Optic Total Internal Reflection Light Flux Surface Mirror 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San DiegoUSA

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