Optical instrument

An optical instrument either processes light waves to enhance an image for viewing, or analyzes light waves (or photons) to determine one of a number of characteristic properties.

Contents

Image enhancement

An illustration of some of the optical devices available for laboratory work in England in 1858.

The first optical instruments were telescopes used for magnification of distant images, and microscopes used for magnifying very tiny images. Since the days of Galileo and Van Leeuwenhoek, these instruments have been greatly improved and extended into other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The binocular device is a generally compact instrument for both eyes designed for mobile use. A camera could be considered a type of optical instrument, with the pinhole camera and camera obscura being very simple examples of such devices.

Analysis

Another class of optical instrument is used to analyze the properties of light or optical materials. They include:

  • Interferometer for measuring the interference properties of light waves
  • Photometer for measuring light intensity
  • Polarimeter for measuring dispersion or rotation of polarized light
  • Reflectometer for measuring the reflectivity of a surface or object
  • Refractometer for measuring refractive index of various materials, invented by Ernst Abbe
  • Spectrometer or monochromator for generating or measuring a portion of the optical spectrum, for the purpose of chemical or material analysis.
  • Autocollimator which is used to measure angular deflections.
  • Vertometer which is used to determine refractive power of lenses such as glasses, contact lenses and magnifier lens

DNA sequencers can be considered optical instruments as they analyse the color and intensity of the light emitted by a fluorochrome attached to a specific nucleotide of a DNA strand.

Surface plasmon resonance-based instruments use refractometry to measure and analyze biomolecular interactions.

Other optical devices

  • Polarization controller

See also

  • Scientific instruments

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • optical instrument — optinis prietaisas statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. optical instrument vok. optisches Gerät, n; optisches Instrument, n rus. оптический прибор, m pranc. instrument optique, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • optical instrument — optinis prietaisas statusas T sritis Gynyba apibrėžtis Prietaisas, kurio veikimas pagrįstas šviesos bangų savybėmis. Vaizdas gaunamas įvairiomis lęšių, prizmių, veidrodžių ir kt. sistemomis. Pagrindinės optinio prietaiso dalys – objektyvas ir… …   Artilerijos terminų žodynas

  • optical instrument — noun an instrument designed to aid vision • Hypernyms: ↑instrument • Hyponyms: ↑binoculars, ↑field glasses, ↑opera glasses, ↑esophagoscope, ↑oesophagoscope, ↑jeweler s glass …   Useful english dictionary

  • Optical interferometry — combines two or more light waves in an optical instrument in such a way that interference occurs between them. Early interferometers used white light sources and also monochromatic light from atomic sources (e.g., Young s double slit experiment… …   Wikipedia

  • Optical aberration — v · d · e Optical aberration …   Wikipedia

  • instrument — A product traded at CME, i.e., the CME S&P 500 Index futures contract. Chicago Mercantile Exchange Glossary * * * instrument in‧stru‧ment [ˈɪnstrmənt] noun [countable] 1. also financial instrument FINANCE an investment such as a bond or share …   Financial and business terms

  • Optical mineralogy — A petrographic microscope, which is an optical microscope fitted with cross polarizing lenses, a conoscopic lens, and compensators (plates of anisotropic materials; gypsum plates and quartz wedges are common), for crystallographic analysis.… …   Wikipedia

  • Optical mount — For a mirror holder, see Mirror mount. An optical mount is a device used to join a normal camera and another optical instrument, such as a microscope or telescope. The optical mount is generally attached to the camera as a lens would on one end,… …   Wikipedia

  • Optical window — Rough plot of Earth s atmospheric transmittance (or opacity) to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light. The meaning of this term depends on the context: In astronomy, the optical window is the optical portion of …   Wikipedia

  • optical — adjective Date: 1570 1. of or relating to the science of optics 2. a. of or relating to vision ; visual b. visible 1 < optical wavelength > c. of, relating to, or being objects that emit light in the visible range of frequencies < an optical… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.