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Photonics Dictionary

Geometrical optics

The area of optics in which the propagation of light is described by geometrical lines (or rays) governed by Fermat’s Principle. Geometrical optics is useful as long as the objects in which the light rays interact are much larger than the wavelength of the light (lenses, mirrors, stops, etc.). In geometrical optics, the wave nature of light is ignored and light is thought to travel in straight lines only to be reflected or refracted at a surface. Geometrical optics is the foundation for the design of imaging optical systems and lens design.

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