Optics Dictionary

Sometimes reading a scientific explanation is as difficult as reading Parseltongue. This section features definitions and etymology for the terms and phrases you will encounter as you explore the science of light. Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. Ever wonder how the word optics got its meaning? OK — probably not but now you can find out!


General Terms

A printing process of electrostatic electrophotography. The process uses a dry powder that adheres to an electrically charged surface. The surface is charged after being exposed to light from an image of the document to be copied.

1952, trademark taken out by Haloid Co. of Rochester, N.Y., for a copying device, from earlier xerography "photographic reduplication without liquid developers" (1948), from Gk. xeros "dry" + -ography as in photography. The verb is first attested 1966, from the noun, despite strenuous objection from the Xerox copyright department.