Natural Focusing and Fine Structure of Light: Caustics and Wave Dislocations

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CRC Press, Jan 1, 1999 - Technology & Engineering - 328 pages
A new kind of optics has grown up during the last 25 years. Geometrical optics has been studied for centuries (the law of reflection was known to the ancient Greeks) and wave optics (heralded by Huygens' Treatise on Light) has been studied for more than 300 years. But in the mid 1970s it began to be understood that when natural processes focus light, as when sunlight is reflected from the sea at sunset, the light caustics that are produced have a systematic behavior previously unrecognized.

Natural Focusing and Fine Structure of Light: Caustics and Wave Dislocations provides a definitive account of how classical optics has been reconstructed in a modern way by emphasizing the hierarchy of singularities that exists in light fields. The book discusses the singularities of geometrical optics and their systematization by catastrophe theory. It explores the diffraction patterns associated with caustics that are dominated by wave dislocations, line singularities of the phase, and analogous to crystal dislocations. The book is a perfect blend of mathematics and physics, combining theory, computer simulation, and beautiful experimental photographs of the phenomena studied.

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Contents

Natural Focusing
9
Folds and Cusps in Three Dimensions
41
Caustics of Codimension Three
59
General analysis of trajectory patterns in pair creation
90
Diffraction
123
Higher Caustics as Organizing Centres
157
Producing D
184
Network Patterns of Catastrophes
237
Statistics of Caustics and Twinkling
249
Caustics within a General Refracting Medium
261
Singularities in Paraxial Electromagnetic Waves
271
Singularities in Waves Travelling in Many Directions
293
Retrospect
307
Name Index
319
Copyright

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