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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Demonstrating principles of physical optics through interactive computer simulations
Author(s): John T. Tarvin; Stephen H. Cobb; Donald L. Jackson

Paper Abstract

Interactive simulations have been developed illustrating basic principles of physical optics in three major areas: 1) electric field behavior in various polarization states, 2) propagation of traveling plane waves through birefringent and optically-active media, and 3) Fresnel diffraction and its relationship to and interpretation with Cornu's spiral. All of these areas emphasize the wave nature of light as expressed by an oscillating electric field. These simulations make use of high-resolution (VGA) color animation in a PC/MS-DOS environment; this enhances the presentation and appeal of these simulations to students. These simulations are presently being used by 1) physics majors in an upper-level applied optics course and 2) lower-level honor students who are being introduced to research projects in physical optics. The success of these programs as a vehicle for imparting a conceptual understanding of the physical principles involved will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1992
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1603, Education in Optics, (1 March 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.57859
Show Author Affiliations
John T. Tarvin, Murray State Univ. (United States)
Stephen H. Cobb, Murray State Univ. (United States)
Donald L. Jackson, Murray State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1603:
Education in Optics
Gregory B. Altshuler; Brian J. Thompson, Editor(s)

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