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Photonics Dictionary: O

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optical collimator -> collimator
An optical instrument consisting of a well- corrected objective lens or mirror with a light source and or object/image (i.e. illuminated slit or retical) at its focal plane. Collimators are used to...
optical combiner
An optical combiner, in the context of optics and display technologies, refers to a device or component that combines multiple optical signals or images into a single output. The purpose of an...
optical communications
The transmission and reception of information by optical devices and sensors.
optical comparator
Typically used for the examination of manufactured or engineered parts, an optical gauging device, in which a backlight is used to project the silhouette of an object upon a screen in which the...
optical component
One or more optical elements – typically cemented together - in an optical system that are treated as a single group; e.g., a beamsplitter, or a cemented doublet or triplet.
optical computer -> photonic computer
A type of computer in which the electronic circuits, which process data serially, are replaced by photonic circuits capable of parallel processing and thus of much greater speed and power. Where the...
optical constructor
A system of modular mechanical components for building precision optical systems. The basic equipment includes a variety of modules for mounting, supporting and accurately positioning lenses and...
optical contact
The adhesion of two sufficiently clean and close-fitting surfaces without the use of cement or glue. The optically contacted surface is almost as durable as the body of the glass, and the surfaces...
optical continuous wave reflectometer
An instrument used to measure backscatter as well as optical return loss and reflectance within an optical fiber system by measuring the reflected light when a continuous wave is transmitted through...
optical correlation
The procedure by which the similarity of an optical signal or waveform to a reference-stored signal or waveform is determined. Generally the reference is stored as a matched filter.
optical correlator
A device incorporating a spatial light modulator and a reference filter; used for matching an input optical waveform or signal with stored data in a photonic computer. This technique is done using...
optical coupler -> optoisolator
An optical coupling device that uses light to bridge the gap between incompatible wire communications systems. It contains an input amplifier, a light-emitting diode, a photodiode and an output...
optical coupling -> crosstalk
The measurable leakage of optical energy from one optical conductor to another. Also known as optical coupling.
optical data storage
The storage of information via optical means, primarily employing a low-power laser to inscribe data on a photosensitive surface as pits or phase differences and to read such data via reflected light...
optical delay camera
A type of high-speed cine camera that uses different image paths and a Kerr cell to produce a series of successive images at about 60,000,000 fps.
optical density
A measure of the transmittance through an optical medium. Optical density equals the log to the base 10 of the reciprocal of the transmittance. where τλ is transmittance. In spectroscopy,...
optical density (photographic)
The transmittance of a point on a photographic negative equal to the log to the base 10 of the reciprocal of the transmittance through the negative at that point.
optical design and engineering services
Optical design and engineering services involve the development, customization, and optimization of optical systems and components to meet specific performance requirements and application needs....
optical design software
Optical design software refers to specialized computer programs used by optical engineers, physicists, and designers to simulate, model, analyze, and optimize the performance of optical systems and...
optical diode
See Faraday rotation; optoisolator.
optical disc
A rigid medium, generally a polycarbonate substrate coated with a reflective aluminum layer, that stores information (such as audio, video or data) as digital bits in the form of variations in the...
optical distance
The physical length of the light path in a substance divided by the refractive index of that substance. See also equivalent air path.
optical Doppler effect -> Doppler effect
The effect produced on a wave frequency because of the relative motion of a source or an observer. The radiation emitted from a source that moves away from an observer appears to be of lower...
optical dummy
1. A lens formed to a desired curve and used to form a polisher. 2. A piece of glass included in a block to fill out the area.
optical dynameter
A small low-power microscope or magnifier with a scale that is used to measure the exit pupil diameter and eye relief on visual instruments. Optical dynameters are often used to measure the...
optical element
An optical part constructed of a single piece of optical material. It is usually a single lens, prism or mirror.
optical emission spectroscopy
In dry etching, a method of characterizing the composition of solid materials such as metal. Atoms in the OES technique are excited by energy that comes from a spark formed between the sample and an...
optical encoder
A device designed to measure linear or rotary motion by detection of the movement of markings on a transparent medium past a fixed point of light. The encoder has a moving code plate, a glass disc...
optical extent
Mathematically defined as the product of etendue (or throughput) and the square of the refractive index, the optical extent is the quantitative value that describes the geometrical limit to how much...
optical fiber optic switches
Optical fiber optic switches are devices used in optical fiber communication systems to selectively route optical signals from one input fiber to one or more output fibers. They play a crucial role...
optical fiber
Optical fiber is a thin, flexible, transparent strand or filament made of glass or plastic used for transmitting light signals over long distances with minimal loss of signal quality. It serves as a...
optical figure
The amount by which an optical surface deviates from its ideal design value, expressed in wavelengths of light. Optical manufacturers use this value to determine two common characteristics of an...
optical filter
An optical filter is a device that selectively transmits or blocks specific wavelengths, or colors, of light. Optical filters are used to control the spectral content of light in various...
optical flat
A piece of glass, pyrex or quartz having one or both surfaces carefully ground and polished plano, generally flat to less than a tenth of a wavelength. Optical flats are used in surface testing to...
optical fluorography
The fluorographic method whereby the visible image (as opposed to the x-ray image) is photographed by mounting a camera in front of the fluorescent screen.
optical Fourier transform
The optical Fourier transform is a mathematical operation applied to optical signals that involves transforming a spatial domain representation of an image into its corresponding frequency domain...
optical gate
An optical gate typically refers to a device or system that controls the transmission of light, allowing it to pass through or be blocked in a manner analogous to an electronic gate controlling the...
optical glass
Optical glass refers to a type of glass specifically engineered and manufactured for use in optical components and systems, such as lenses, prisms, mirrors, and filters. Optical glass is...
optical grating reflectance evaluator
A device for measuring diffraction grating efficiency at any angle of incidence, consisting of a reflectometer wherein the detector rotates around the grating at a specific distance and is attached...
optical grating
An optical grating, in the context of optics and physics, refers to a device with a periodic structure of closely spaced, parallel slits or rulings. These slits or rulings act as obstacles to the...
optical head
In compact disc and CD-ROM technology, the portion of the drive that projects the laser light onto the surface of the media and picks up the resulting reflections read as data. The head includes the...
optical instrument dome
A dome-shaped structure used for some optical instruments in place of a flat window. The transparent material should be of good quality and the hemispherical surfaces should be concentric.
optical interconnection
The use of photonic devices rather than electronic devices to make connections within and between integrated circuits.
optical isolator
Also known as an optical diode, an optical isolator is a device that utilizes the Faraday effect to suppress or redirect backscattered or backreflected light in order to allow light transmission in...
optical lattice
A periodic structure formed by intersecting or superimposed laser beams. These beams can trap atoms in low-potential regions, forming a pattern of atoms resembling the structure of a crystal.
optical lever
A device used to detect and measure small amounts of rotation. The rotating object contains a reflecting surface from which a beam of light is reflected onto a positional detector. A large distance...
optical link
Any optical transmission channel used in telecommunications designed to connect two end terminals or to be connected in series with other channels using an optical circuit.
optical manufacturing tools and machinery
Optical manufacturing tools and machinery encompass a wide range of equipment, instruments, and systems used in the fabrication, shaping, finishing, and testing of optical components and systems....
optical maser -> laser
light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
optical materials
Optical materials refer to substances or compounds specifically chosen for their optical properties and used in the fabrication of optical components and systems. These materials are characterized by...

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