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PH - Optics

Physics: Light and Optics - KAPLAN/MCAT in a box

QuestionAnswer
Dispersion The phenomenon observed when white light is incident on the face of a prism and emerges on the opposite side with all its wavelengths split apart. λ is related to the index of refraction n = c/fλ. A small λ has a large n, a small angle of refraction (θ2).
Diverging Lens A lens with a thin center that diverges light after refraction and always forms a virtual image.
Diverging Mirror A convex mirror with a negative focal length. Diverging mirrors always produce virtual images.
Electromagnetic Spectrum The full range of frequencies and wavelengths for electromagnetic waves broken down into the following regions (in descending order of λ): radio, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma ray.
Electromagnetic Waves When a magnetic field is changing, it causes a change in an electric field and vice versa, resulting in the propagation of a transverse wave containing a magnetic and an electric field that are perpendicular to each other.
Focal Length The distance between the focal point and the mirror or lens. For spherical mirrors, the focal length is equal to one-half the radius of curvature.
Index of Refraction Ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light through a medium, given by: n = c/v; factor by which the c is reduced as light travels from a vacuum into another medium.
Interference When superimposed light waves are in phase, their amplitudes add (constructive interference) and the appearance is brighter. When superimposed light waves are out of phase, their amplitudes subtract (destructive interference) and the appearance is darker.
Law of Reflection Law stating that when light waves strike a medium, the angle of incidence θi is equal to the angle of reflection θr.
Magnification A dimensionless value denoted by m given by the equation: m = -i/o, where i is image height and o is object height. A negative m denotes an inverted image, whereas a positive m denotes an upright image.
Plane-Polarized Light Light that has been passed through a polarizing filter, allowing only the transmission of waves containing electric field vectors parallel to the lines of the filter.
Plane Mirror A mirror in which incident light rays remain parallel after reflection, always producing a virtual image that appears to be the same distance behind the mirror as the object is in front of the mirror.
Real Image An image produced at a point where the light rays actually converge or pass through. For mirrors, this would be on the side of the object; for lenses, it would be on the opposite side of the object.
Snell's Law Equation describing the angle of refraction for a light ray passing from one medium to another, given by n1sinθ1 = n2sinθ2, where n is the index of refraction.
Speed of Light The speed of electromagnetic waves traveling through a vacuum, given by the equation c = λf, where c is a constant equal to 3.00 x 10^8 m/s.
Spherical Mirror A curved mirror that is essentially small, cut-out portion of a sphere mirror, having a center of curvature C and radius of curvature r.
Total Internal Reflection The condition in which the θ1 of light traveling from a medium with a high n to a medium with a low n is greater than the critical angle θc resulting in all of the light being reflected and none of it being refracted.
Virtual Image An image produced at a point where light does not actually pass or converge. For mirrors, this would be on the opposite side of the object; for lenses, it would be on the same side as the object.
Diffraction The spreading-out effect of light when it passes through a small slit opening.
Converging Mirror A concave mirror with a positive focal length.
Converging Lens A lens with a thick center that converges light rays at a point where the image is formed.
Created by: miibo on 2011-09-24



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