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Optical Instrumentation

  1. Dietmar Hoeschen,
  2. Werner Mirandé

Published Online: 15 OCT 2004

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap288.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Hoeschen, D. and Mirandé, W. 2004. Optical Instrumentation. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2004


Optical instrumentation is based on phenomena caused by optical radiation. In this article, optical radiation is limited to a wavelength range between 200 nm and 50 µm. After a short survey about the historical development of optical instrumentation, phenomena resulting from the various characteristics of optical radiation, as for instance, a wave or a particle, are considered. Based on the wavelength character, optical instrumentation used for interferometry, colorimetry, spectroscopy, diffraction, imaging, and optical frequency standards is treated. The interaction of optical radiation with matter is used in refractometry, in polarimetry, for studying matter with ultrashort pulses of radiation, and for processing matter with radiation of high-energy density. Finally, the particle character is considered to be used for fields such as radiometry and energy conversion.


  • birefringence;
  • blaze wavelength;
  • chromatic aberration;
  • color;
  • comb generator;
  • cryogenic radiometers;
  • ellipsometry;
  • femtosecond laser;
  • Fourier spectroscopy;
  • holography;
  • laser gyro;
  • optical frequency standard;
  • optical radiation;
  • refraction;
  • refractive index;
  • refractometry;
  • pinhole camera;
  • polarimetry;
  • polarization;
  • soret plate;
  • spherical aberration;
  • sugar scale;
  • unit of length;
  • unit of time;
  • wavelength