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Optical Physics

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This title has free online support material available.


  • 375 b/w illus. 190 exercises
  • Page extent: 590 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.42 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 535/.2
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: QC395.2 .L56 2011
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Physical optics

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521493451)

This fourth edition of a well-established textbook takes students from fundamental ideas to the most modern developments in optics. Illustrated with 400 figures, it contains numerous practical examples, many from student laboratory experiments and lecture demonstrations. Aimed at undergraduate and advanced courses on modern optics, it is ideal for scientists and engineers. The book covers the principles of geometrical and physical optics, leading into quantum optics, using mainly Fourier transforms and linear algebra. Chapters are supplemented with advanced topics and up-to-date applications, exposing readers to key research themes, including negative refractive index, surface plasmon resonance, phase retrieval in crystal diffraction and the Hubble telescope, photonic crystals, super-resolved imaging in biology, electromagnetically induced transparency, slow light and superluminal propagation, entangled photons and solar energy collectors. Solutions to the problems, simulation programs, key figures and further discussions of several topics are available at

• Features numerous practical examples, many of which can be easily repeated in a laboratory, and illustrated with 400 figures • Exposes readers to key research themes through advanced topics and up-to-date applications • Additional resources online include solutions to the problems, simulation programs, key figures, experimental demonstrations and further discussions of several topics


1. History of ideas; 2. Waves; 3. Geometrical optics; 4. Fourier theory; 5. Electromagnetic waves; 6. Polarization and anisotropic media; 7. The scalar theory of diffraction; 8. Fraunhofer diffraction and interference; 9. Interferometry; 10. Optical waveguides and modulated media; 11. Coherence; 12. Image formation; 13. The classical theory of dispersion; 14. Quantum optics and lasers; Appendices; Index.


'… a well established and essential text for both undergraduate and graduate physicists … father and son writing in concert have written a scholarly, authoritative and clearly written account of the principles and application of wave theory.' Edward Atkins, Physics Education

'This book has many stimulating ideas in it …' Contemporary Physics

'It deserves to occupy a place on the shelf of any library or of any physics teacher.' Optica Acta

'Well-written, comprehensive and pitched at just the right level for undergraduates - the online supporting material is particularly useful.' David Binks, University of Manchester

'The fourth edition of Optical Physics has been significantly updated in both content and presentation. It now covers almost the entire range of topics in classical and modern optics that science and engineering students need to learn as part of their preparation for careers in modern science and technology. While Fourier analysis is used extensively, the authors have wisely kept the mathematical requirements at a non-intimidating level and, wherever appropriate, provide clear conceptual examples and discuss relevant applications. The extensive set of exercises will be much appreciated by teachers who adopt this text for their courses. The pedagogical improvements that have been made, such as the brief chapter synopses, make it easier for students to follow the development of the theory and to gauge their progress in mastering the subjects. Optical Physics is a thorough, up-to-date text on the fascinating and technologically important field of optics that is highly suitable as a text for an advanced undergraduate course for science and engineering students, but it may also serve as a good reference and refresher for graduate students and scientists who work in the field of optics.' Rainer Johnsen, University of Pittsburgh

'This book is an excellent treatment of optics, emphasizing physical principles and their consequences.' Thad Walker, University of Wisconsin

'Optical Physics is written for the advanced undergraduate student to learn optical physics as if sitting in the classroom of a master educator. A given topic is laid out in multiple ways enabling the student a greater opportunity to develop a physical intuition for the material. The 4th edition chapter summaries and side discussions in the margins once again are added to make the textbook more useful to the student. The balance between qualitative and quantitative treatment seems ideal.' Carl Maes, University of Arizona

'… Optical Physics has a long proud history as a definitive text on optics. This new [edition] adds recent developments such as super-resolution while retaining all the key material and beautiful images from the earlier editions.' Charles S. Adams, Durham University

'The publication of this book represents a much needed step towards the wider understanding of optics and its significance in professional practice … Given the exciting horizons opening up in the field of imaging, including lidar, this wide-ranging publication should prove a very valuable reference source for years to come. This has been achieved successfully through a clearly written text, and at a technical level that makes it a really useful and up-to-date reference … It should be available for reference in any organisation that depends on the quality of its optical equipment.' The Photogrammetric Record

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