Basic Principles of Light

  • Gerd KeiserEmail author
Part of the Graduate Texts in Physics book series (GTP)


The purpose of this chapter is to present an overview of the fundamental behavior of light. Having a good grasp of the basic principles of light is important for understanding how light interacts with biological matter, which is the basis of biophotonics. A challenging aspect of applying light to biological materials is that the optical properties of the materials generally vary with the light wavelength and can depend on factors such as the optical power per area irradiated, the temperature, the light exposure time, and light polarization. The following topics are included in this chapter: the characteristics of lightwaves, polarization, quantization and photon energy, reflection and refraction, and the concepts of interference and coherence.


Critical Angle Electric Field Vector Permanent Dipole Moment Unpolarized Light Measurable Electric Field 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringBoston UniversityNewtonUSA

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