Optics for Engineers: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Optics for Engineers

1st Edition

By Charles A. DiMarzio

CRC Press

564 pages | 512 B/W Illus.

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The field of optics has become central to major developments in medical imaging, remote sensing, communication, micro- and nanofabrication, and consumer technology, among other areas. Applications of optics are now found in products such as laser printers, bar-code scanners, and even mobile phones. There is a growing need for engineers to understand the principles of optics in order to develop new instruments and improve existing optical instrumentation. Based on a graduate course taught at Northeastern University, Optics for Engineers provides a rigorous, practical introduction to the field of optics. Drawing on his experience in industry, the author presents the fundamentals of optics related to the problems encountered by engineers and researchers in designing and analyzing optical systems.

Beginning with a history of optics, the book introduces Maxwell’s equations, the wave equation, and the eikonal equation, which form the mathematical basis of the field of optics. It then leads readers through a discussion of geometric optics that is essential to most optics projects. The book also lays out the fundamentals of physical optics—polarization, interference, and diffraction—in sufficient depth to enable readers to solve many realistic problems. It continues the discussion of diffraction with some closed-form expressions for the important case of Gaussian beams. A chapter on coherence guides readers in understanding the applicability of the results in previous chapters and sets the stage for an exploration of Fourier optics. Addressing the importance of the measurement and quantification of light in determining the performance limits of optical systems, the book then covers radiometry, photometry, and optical detection. It also introduces nonlinear optics.

This comprehensive reference includes downloadable MATLAB® code as well as numerous problems, examples, and illustrations. An introductory text for graduate and advanced undergraduate students, it is also a useful resource for researchers and engineers developing optical systems.


This book is an excellent resource for teaching any student or scientist who needs to use optical systems. I particularly like the addition of MATLAB scripts and functions. Highly recommended.

—Professor James C. Wyant, Dean of College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona

His book is clear, concise and highly readable. This is an excellent text.

—Professor Changhuei Yang, California Institute of Technology

At last, a book on optics that is written with the practising engineer in mind. I have been teaching optics to engineers for many years and have often longed for a text aimed at my students … covers all the important issues from basic theory through lasers and photodetectors to the vital topic of radiometry and measurement.

—Professor John Watson, Chair of Electrical Engineering and Optical Engineering, University of Aberdeen

Table of Contents


Why Optics?


Optical Engineering

Electromagnetics Background

Wavelength, Frequency, Power, and Photons

Energy Levels and Transitions

Macroscopic Effects

Basic Concepts of Imaging

Overview of the Book


Basic Geometric Optics

Snell’s Law

Imaging with a Single Interface



Simple Lens


Reflective Systems


Matrix Optics

Matrix Optics Concepts

Interpreting the Results

The Thick Lens Again



Stops, Pupils, and Windows

Aperture Stop

Field Stop

Image-Space Example

Locating and Identifying Pupils and Windows




Exact Ray Tracing

Ellipsoidal Mirror

Seidel Aberrations and OPL

Spherical Aberration for a Thin Lens

Chromatic Aberration

Design Issues

Lens Design


Polarized Light

Fundamentals of Polarized Light

Behavior of Polarizing Devices

Interaction with Materials

Fresnel Reflection and Transmission

Physics of Polarizing Devices

Jones Vectors and Matrices

Partial Polarization



Mach–Zehnder Interferometer

Doppler Laser Radar

Resolving Ambiguities

Michelson Interferometer

Fabry–Perot Interferometer


Thin Films



Physics of Diffraction

Fresnel–Kirchhoff Integral

Paraxial Approximation

Fraunhofer Diffraction Equations

Some Useful Fraunhofer Patterns

Resolution of an Imaging System

Diffraction Grating

Fresnel Diffraction


Gaussian Beams

Equations for Gaussian Beams

Gaussian Beam Propagation

Six Questions

Gaussian Beam Propagation

Collins Chart

Stable Laser Cavity Design

Hermite–Gaussian Modes




Discrete Frequencies

Temporal Coherence

Spatial Coherence

Controlling Coherence



Fourier Optics

Coherent Imaging

Incoherent Imaging Systems

Characterizing an Optical System


Radiometry and Photometry

Basic Radiometry

Spectral Radiometry

Photometry and Colorimetry


Blackbody Radiation


Optical Detection


Photon Statistics

Detector Noise

Photon Detectors

Thermal Detectors

Array Detectors

Nonlinear Optics

Wave Equations

Phase Matching

Nonlinear Processes

Appendix A Notation and Drawings for Geometric Optics

Appendix B Solid Angle

Appendix C Matrix Mathematics

Appendix D Light Propagation in Biological Tissue

Appendix E Useful Matrices

Appendix F Numerical Constants and Conversion Factors

Appendix G Solutions to Chapter Problems



About the Author

Professor Charles A. DiMarzio is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

He holds a BS in engineering physics from the University of Maine, an MS in physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Northeastern University. He spent 14 years at Raytheon Company’s Electro-Optics Systems Laboratory in coherent laser radar for air safety and meteorology. Among other projects there, he worked on an airborne laser radar, flown on the Galileo-II, to monitor airflow related to severe storms, pollution, and wind energy, and another laser radar to characterize the wake vortices of landing aircraft.

At Northeastern, he extended his interest in coherent detection to optical quadrature microscopy—a method of quantitative phase imaging with several applications, most notably assessment of embryo viability. His current interests include coherent imaging, confocal microscopy for dermatology and other applications, multimodal microscopy, spectroscopy and imaging in turbid media, and the interaction of light and sound in tissue. His research ranges from computational models, through system development and testing, to signal processing. He is also a founding member of Gordon-CenSSIS—the Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Optics
SCIENCE / Physics