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Terms and Definitions

Optics: : [op-tiks] - noun


A branch of physics that studies electromagnetic radiation (for example, light and infrared radiation), its interactions with matter, and instruments used to gather information due to these interactions. Optics includes the study of sight.

1541, from M.Fr. optique, obtique (c.1300), from M.L. opticus "of sight or seeing," from Gk. optikos "of or having to do with sight," from optos "seen, visible," from op-, root of opsesthai "be going to see," related to ops "eye," from PIE *oqw- "eye/see" (see eye). Optics "science of sight and light" is from 1579; optician is first attested 1687, after Fr. opticien.

Compiled with help from: OSA Student Chapter Members, using the following websites: UCL Physics & Astronomy - Condensed Matter & Materials Physics, Galilean and Keplerian Telescopes, Hyper Physics, Standard Medical Limited, Photonics Dictionary, Military Handbook: Optical Deign of Elements, Vol. 1, 1959, Melles Griot, and Hyper Physics, and MicroWorlds