Lord, Richard C. Formerly, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The branch of optics that treats of light (or electromagnetic radiation in general) with explicit recognition of its wave nature. The counterpart to wave optics is ray optics or geometrical optics, which does not assume any wave character but treats the propagation of light as a straight-line phenomenon except for changes of direction induced by reflection or refraction. See also: Geometrical optics; Optics
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