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# Curvature of Wavefronts

Light can be viewed as beams travelling between points. However, from most light sources, the light radiates outwards as a series of wavefronts. Light from a light source is bent - wavefronts of light have a property nown as curvature.

## !ecreasing curvatures of wavefronts

"s light travels further away from its source, its curvature decreases. Consider a sphere e#panding gradually from a point, which represents a given wavefront of light. "s the sphere e#pands, the curvature of its surface decreases when we loo at any part of the surface with a constant area. \$t should be noted at this point that light from a source infinitely far away has % curvature - it is straight. &his is useful, as ambient light 'light from a source that is far away( can be assumed to have a curvature of %, as the difference between this and its actual curvature is negligible. &he curvature of a wavefront is given as)

, where v is the distance from the wavefront to the in-focus image depicted by the light. Curvature is measured in dioptres '!(.

*ower of lenses

## Calculating the power of a lens

&he function of a lens is to increase or decrease the curvature of a wavefront. Lenses have a +power+. &his is the curvature which the lens adds to the wavefront. *ower is measured in dioptres, and is given by the formula)

, where f e,uals the focal length of the lens. &his is the distance between the lens and the point where an image will be in focus, if the wavefronts entering the other side of the lens are parallel.

## &he lens e,uation, applied to a single pi#el.

.verall, then, the formula relating the curvature of the wavefronts leaving a lens to the curvature of the wavefronts entering it is)

where v is the distance between the lens 'its centre( and the in-focus image formed, u is the distance between the lens 'its centre( and the ob/ect which the in-focus image is of, and f is the focal length of the lens. &he power of the lens can be substituted in for the reciprocal of f, as they are the same thing.

## The Cartesian Convention

\$f we were to place a diagram of the lens on a grid, labelled with cartesian co-ordinates, we would discover that measuring the distance of the ob/ect distance is negative, in comparison to the image distance. "s a result, the value for u must always be negative. &his is nown as the Cartesian convention. &his means that, if light enters the lens with a positive curvature, it will leave with a negative curvature unless the lens is powerful enough to ma e the light leave with a positive curvature.

&ypes of Lens

&ypes of lens

&here are two types of lens) Converging lenses add curvature to the wavefronts, causing them to converge more. &hese have a positive power, and have a curved surface which is wider in the middle than at the rim. Diverging lenses remove curvature from the wavefronts, causing them to diverge more. &hese have a negative power, and have a curved surface with a dip in the middle.

0agnification
0agnification is a measure of how much an image has been enlarged by a lens. \$t is given by the formula)

where h1 and h2 are the heights of the image 'or ob/ect( before and after being magnified, respectively. \$f an image is shrun by a lens, the magnification is between % and 1. 0agnification can also be given as)

## where v and u are the image and ob/ect distances. &herefore)

"n easy way to remember this in the middle of a e#am is the formula)

where \$ is image si3e, " is actual si3e of the ob/ect 0 is the magnification factor.

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