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College Physics (Urone)
Found in: Page 955

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Short Answer

Geometric optics describes the interaction of light with macroscopic objects. Why, then, is it correct to use geometric optics to analyse a microscope’s image?

We use geometric optics approximation because the size of the object is much larger than the wavelength of light.

See the step by step solution

Step by Step Solution

Step 1: Geometric optics Approximation.

One approximation that geometric optics makes is that the waves (rays) travel in straight lines until they hit a surface. When the ray encounters a surface it can either bounce back (reflect) or bend (refract) but then continues to travel in a straight line.

Step 2:Comparison of the wavelength of light with the size of an object.

The size of the object we see in the microscope is of the order of μm 10-6m. The wavelength of the light used in the microscope is of the order of few 100 nm . So the wavelength of the light is much smaller than the size of the object, hence we can use the geometrical optics approximation.

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