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Optics (from the medieval Latin opticus, related to vision, from the classical Greek ὀπτικός, optikós)1 is the branch of physics that involves the study of the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter, as well as the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics generally describes the behavior of visible light, ultraviolet radiation, and infrared radiation. Being an electromagnetic radiation, other forms of radiation of the same type such as X-rays, microwaves and radio waves show similar properties.
Most optical phenomena can be explained using the classical electrodynamic description of light. However, practical optics generally use simplified models. The most common of these models, geometrical optics, treats light as a collection of rays that travel in straight lines and bend as they pass through or reflect off surfaces. Physical optics is a more complete model of light, including wave effects such as diffraction and interference, which cannot be addressed by geometrical optics.
Some phenomena depend on the fact that light exhibits wave and particle properties interchangeably. The explanation of these effects requires recourse to quantum mechanics. By considering the particle-like properties of light, it can be modeled as a set of individual photons. Quantum optics deals with the application of quantum mechanics to optical systems.
Optics as a science is a very relevant field, and is studied in many disciplines with which it is closely related, such as astronomy, various fields of engineering, photography, and medicine (particularly ophthalmology and optometry). Practical applications of optics are found in a wide variety of technologies, including mirrors, lenses, telescopes, microscopes, laser equipment, and fiber optic systems.
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