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Photonics Dictionary: Z

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Z
zeta
z
atomic number; zepto-
Z-axis modulation
The intensity regulation of a cathode-ray tube by alteration of the grid-cathode voltage.
Z-scan
A technique for determining the nonlinear optical properties of a sample material by moving the sample through a focused laser beam and measuring changes in the beam's characteristics, such as...
Zeeman broadening
Broadening of a spectrum that results from the influence of a magnetic field.
Zeeman effect
The splitting of energy levels of an atom, ion or molecule because of a magnetic field.
Zener diode
A type of semiconductor diode used in voltage-limiting circuits; when voltage reaches a certain value, the device becomes a conductor.
ZENITH
zero-energy nitrogen heated thermal reactor
zenith telescope
A telescope that is fixed or has a limited degree of movement in a vertical plane; primarily used to determine the position of stars near the zenith.
zepto
In the SI system, prefix meaning 10-21. (z).
Zernike's phase contrast method
The introduction of a filter into an imaging system to implement a phase contrast for an intensity mapping of a pure phase image.
zero halogen thermoplastic
A highly flame-retardant material used to jacket fiber optic cables, especially on shipboard applications.
zero order
In an interference pattern, that point where there is no difference between the optical paths of the interfacing wavefronts.
zero phase shift mirror
A mirror that supplies equal reflectance for both the S-polarization and the P-polarization of a laser for a defined angle of incidence, usually 45°.
zero-dispersion wavelength
In a single-mode optical fiber, the wavelength that causes material dispersion and waveguide dispersion to cancel each other. In a multimode fiber, loose term for the wavelength at which there is a...
zero-order filtering
The removal of the zero-order component of the Fourier spectrum distribution of an object with a small, opaque absorber or reflector in the Fourier plane, to produce images that appear bright on a...
zero-order reflection grating
A grating that specularly reflects the specified long radiation wavelengths and diffracts the shorter wavelengths off in known directions, eliminating the interference of randomly scattered radiation.
zero-order retarder
A quarter- or half-wave retarder made from two plates of quartz, mica or polymer with their fast axes crossed; the difference in thickness between the two plates determines the retardance. Zero-order...
zero-order transmission grating
A polyethylene grating that transmits the long wavelengths and diffracts shorter wavelengths in controlled directions.
Zerodur
Schott Glass Technologies' trade name for a glass-ceramic material with a very low coefficient of thermal expansion.
ZES
zero-energy system
zeta particle
The difference in electrokinetic potential between the stationary liquid connected to a solid phase surface and the mobile portion of the liquid's diffuse layer.
ZETR
zero-energy thermal reactor
zetta
In the SI system, prefix meaning 1021. (Z).
ZG
zero gravity
ZGS
zero-gradient synchrotron
ZIF
zero insertion force
zinc sulfide
A polycrystalline material that transmits in the infrared; it is used as a phosphor in x-ray and television screens.
ZIP
zinc impurity photodetector
zip-cord
A two-fiber optical cable containing two single-fiber cables that are connected by a strip of jacket and that can easily be separated from one another for the installation of optical connectors.
zirconium arc
A small bulb containing a conducting gas, an arc being formed between a metal ring and a tiny zirconium electrode near the center of the ring. The heated zirconium emits light, and constitutes a...
zirconium fluoride
An infrared transmitting material used in the production of fluoride glasses for optical fibers.
ZISC
zero-instruction-set computing
zodiacal light
The sunlight that extends to the earth after scattering from other solar bodies, mostly from meteorite dust of radii equaling 10-3 cm.
zonal aberration
Spherical or chromatic aberration in a lens having a wide aperture. It is present because the refracting power varies for different zones concentric at the axis. This is the residual when the lens...
zonal constant
A factor that, when multiplied by the average candlepower emitted by a light source in a specified angular zone, reveals the lumens in the zone.
zone axis
Also known as zonal axis. The axis positioned through the center of a crystal that is parallel to a zone edge.
zone plate
A plate of glass, usually a photograph, on which there is a central spot surrounded by concentric annular zones, alternately opaque and transparent, the radii of the boundaries between the zones...
zones
1. In a polished surface, concentric waves that appear as zones in Newton's rings when a test glass is applied. 2. An arrangement of crystal faces that come together in a series of edges, all of...
zoom
To control, by magnifying or reducing, the size of a televised image, either electronically or optically.
zoom lens
An optical system of variable focal length, the focal plane remaining in a fixed position. This result is achieved by moving some of the components of the system along the lens axis, other components...
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