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Photonics Dictionary: M

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melting point
The temperature at which the solid phase of a material is in equilibrium with the liquid phase, or when the material changes from a solid to a liquid.
member
In a lens system, a group of elements considered as an entity; either a front or rear member depending on whether it is before or after the aperture stop.
MEMS -> microelectromechanical systems
Refers to micron-size complex machines that have physical dimensions suitable for the fabrication of optical switches for use in state-of-the-art communications networks.
MEMS
microelectromechanical systems
MEMS fiber optic switch
A MEMS fiber optic switch is a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) device designed to selectively route optical signals between multiple fiber optic channels. These switches utilize miniature...
meniscus anastigmat
An anastigmatic lens with a thick meniscus construction that flattens the field and corrects chromatic and spherical aberration.
meniscus lens
A meniscus lens is an optical lens that has one side that is concave (curved inward) and the other side that is convex (curved outward). It can be categorized into two types based on its optical...
mensuration
The process or act of measuring the geometric properties of an object or image.
MERA
molecular electronics for radar applications
mercury arc
An electric arc that is formed in mercury vapor through which an electric current flows. The intensity of the illumination of the arc depends mostly on its design and the conditions under which it...
mercury vapor light source
A lamp that has mercury in a tube or bulb that has first been evacuated. The electricity travels through the vapor between the electrodes and produces a blue-green light that is rich in ultraviolet...
meridional plane
That plane in an optical system containing its optical axis and the chief ray. Also called the tangential plane.
meridional ray
A ray that lies in the meridional plane; a ray that lies in the plane that contains the optical axis. A tangential ray.
merit function -> error function
A single number, defined by the computer program or the user that expresses the performance of an optical system. Also known as merit function and defect function, the error function comprises...
meso form
A form of an element that cannot demonstrate optical activity as a result of dextrogyrate and levogyrate effects that are balanced contrary to each other in a structure. In essence, meso form...
mesopic vision
Vision at intermediate levels of luminance between photopic and scotopic vision, where both retinal cones and retinal rods are stimulated for visual use in dim, low light situations. See also...
mesoscope
In the field of optics and imaging, a mesoscope refers to an optical instrument that is designed to observe and capture images at intermediate scales, falling between microscopic and macroscopic...
mesosphere -> chemosphere
Also known as mesosphere. A level of the atmosphere, extending from the stratosphere to the ionosphere, that is noted for its photochemical activity.
meta-optics
Meta-optics, also known as metasurface optics or flat optics, is a branch of optics that involves the design, fabrication, and utilization of artificial structures called metasurfaces to control and...
metabolic imaging
Metabolic imaging refers to the visualization and quantification of metabolic processes within living organisms, tissues, or cells using various imaging techniques. It provides insights into the...
metabolite
A metabolite is any small molecule that is a product of metabolism, the chemical processes that occur within living organisms to maintain life. Metabolites can include a wide variety of molecules,...
metal arc
The electrical arc formed between metal rods that emits the spectrum of the metal itself. Commonly used in the chemical analysis of metals.
metal component
An accurate metal prism or plane parallel plate that is cemented to an optical element and remains with it during a series of grinding or polishing processes. The metal element contains threaded...
metal vapor laser
Devices in which the lasing medium is a vapor of metal atoms or ions, sometimes mixed with another gas. Metal vapor lasers use a variety of metal types to generate a variety of laser lines for...
metalens
A metalens, short for "metasurface lens," is a type of optical lens that uses nanostructured materials to manipulate light at a subwavelength scale. Unlike traditional lenses made of glass or other...
metallic coating
A thin layer of metal deposited on the surface of a substrate. The film may serve as a reflector, beamsplitter, neutral density filter or electromagnetic interference filter.
metallic mesh filter
An interference filter in which a very thin metal foil with a periodic array of square holes (inductive mesh) or a thin plastic substrate with an array of metal squares (capacitative mesh) is used as...
metallographic microscope
A specially designed microscope for observing the etched surface of a polished metal specimen. The specimen is often laid face down on a horizontal stage and observed from beneath, the illumination...
metallographic polishing machine
A small optical polishing machine intended for polishing the surface of a metal specimen before etching for examination under a microscope. Although shaping and polishing machines for this purpose...
metallography
The analysis of metal structure using an optical or electron microscope, generally with a camera, to record observations.
metallorganic chemical vapor deposition
A method of growing single crystals in which atoms and molecules from gaseous organic compounds interact and form a layer on a single-crystal substrate.
metallorganic vapor phase epitaxy -> metallorganic chemical vapor deposition
A method of growing single crystals in which atoms and molecules from gaseous organic compounds interact and form a layer on a single-crystal substrate.
metamaterial
Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to have properties not found in naturally occurring substances. These materials are designed to manipulate electromagnetic waves in ways that are not...
metameric colors
Pairs of color stimuli that exhibit metamerism as described by colorimetry. Also known as metameters.
metameric match
Visual equivalence of physically (usually spectrally) different stimuli.
metamerism
In colorimetry, the phenomenon in which spectrally different radiations produce the same color sensation for a given observer. In chemistry, the chemical property of two elements or molecules sharing...
metascope
A sensing or image-forming detector that serves to convert infrared rays into visible signals for communication purposes. Also, a form of telescope that generates visible images on a fluorescent...
metastable state
An excited energy state of an atom or atomic system that has a longer lifetime than the ordinary excited state and typically a shorter lifetime than the ground state of that system. Metastable states...
metasurfaces
Metasurfaces are two-dimensional arrays of subwavelength-scale artificial structures, often referred to as meta-atoms or meta-elements, arranged in a specific pattern to manipulate the propagation of...
metaverse
The term "metaverse" refers to a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and persistent virtual worlds. It is a concept derived from science...
meteorological optics -> atmospheric optics
The analysis of the properties of radiation, such as light, when acted upon by variations in the atmosphere. Blue and red skies, along with ice halos, glories, coronas and rainbows can all be...
meter
1. The basic unit of length in the metric system, equal to 39.37 in. or 3.28 ft. 2. Any device or instrument used for measuring. The term often appears in conjunction with the quantity it measures,...
metric photography
The photographic recording of objects or events in a manner that allows quantitative information to be derived from the photograph. An example is the film made by a cinetheodolite in photographing a...
metrology
Metrology is the science and practice of measurement. It encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of measurement, including the development of measurement standards, techniques, and...
metropolitan area network
A cable backbone used to interconnect local area networks at various sites (corporate offices and factories, for example) in a given region. Optical fiber is well-suited to the transmission of both...
MeV
mega-electronvolt — A unit of energy that is equivalent to one million (106) of the unit of energy which is the electron volt (eV).
meV
milli-electronvolt — A unit of energy that is equivalent to one thousandth (10-3) of the unit of energy which is the electron volt (eV).
mF
millifarad — A unit of capacitance that is equivalent to one thousandth (10-3) of the standard unit for capacitance which is the farad.
MF
medium frequency
MFD
mode-field diameter

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