An introduction to modern optics

An introduction to modern optics

An introduction to modern optics A. K. Ghatak Tata McGraw-Hill, 19’71,368 pp This book written for undergraduate students is supposedly a new approa...

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An introduction

to modern optics

A. K. Ghatak Tata McGraw-Hill, 19’71,368 pp This book written for undergraduate students is supposedly a new approach to the study of optics and purports to include a number of recent developments. Books such as this invariably include chapters on waves, interference, diffraction, polarization and some elements of electromagnetic theory. The book under review is no exception. The other chapters cover coherence, holography, the particle nature of radiation and quantum behaviour of photons. Despite its claims it omits much that is part of, or an introduction to, modern optics. The first chapter on waves presents nothing new - it is fairly comprehensive but is not exciting. Complex representation is not used. The second chapter with the title “Huygens’ Principle and geometrical optics” does not rise above A level standard. Geometrical optics has never been a popular subject but there is sufficient renewed interest in it by those involved in such modern developments as laser cavity design, electron optics, crystal optics and focusing of nuclear particles to justify more attention than that given by the author. Optical aberration theory is important, the optical transfer function is used in lens design and geometrical optics provides an ideal introduction to matrix algebra techniques which are now finding increasing use in optics. No mention of these is given. The electro-magnetic character of light and polarization are the subject matter of Chapter 3. The reader will find it difficult, if not impossible, to see the progress made in polarized light. Crystal optics is ignored and electro-optics, a field in which there is much activity has hardly been touched upon. Prism polarizers are not mentioned. The opportunity to introduce a modern description of polarized light using the Stokes vector is missed. Chapter 4 on interference is conventional. The theories of division of wavefront and of amplitude are given; Newton’s rings and the Michelson interferometer are described. Chapter 5 deals with coherence and is clear but there is no mention of optical coherence theory. The chapter on diffraction covers much a student should know but it would benefit by the inclusion of ideas on image formation, on spatial filtering and Fourier transforms. Holography is treated in a satisfactory but brief manner; it stops at the fundamentals. In Chapter 8 accounts are given of the photo-electric effect, the Compton effect and waveparticle duality. The last chapter covers the splitting of photons, concentrates on interference phenomena and the photon hypothesis and ends with the uncertainty principle. The book ends with seven appendices. These appear to be used as a means to introduce material which has been forgotten in the main body of the text. The laser is covered in one of these. Viewed as a whole the material is sound enough but the book is neither a modern introduction to optics nor a good introduction to modern optics. The subject matter is useful for undergraduates; it tends towards simplicity, which is always desirable, and which for many is absolutely necessary It is not likely to provide new ideas for lecturers but a large number of problems are given and each chapter contains worked solutions to examples. H. G. Jerrnrd

Optics and Laser Technology

August 1972

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