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Wave Front

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Description of Wavefront

A wavefront meaning is, it is the set or locus of all the points in the same phase. Here, the locus is the path travelled by a particular point emanating from the light source; however, there are millions of points like this.  All these points undergoing locus form various types of wavefronts.


There are three types of wavefront, viz: plane wavefront, spherical wavefront, and cylindrical wavefront. Moving forward, we will understand these types with the wavefront Physics and Wavefront Lasik in detail.

More About Waves

In physics, periodic waves are used to describe the propagation of radiation energy of the light, sound, wind or any other kind of energy. And because this wave is a smooth periodic oscillation, it is described as a function of sinusoidal waves. In earlier times light was described as a combination of very tiny particles that do not have any mass. It was also theorised that the particles of different coloured lights were also different. All the other natural phenomena of light such as reflection, refraction, diffraction were understood based on this hypothesis and considering that light particles are elastic in nature. 

In the 17th century, Christian Huygens made a groundbreaking scientific revolution. He proposed that light is actually a form of energy and moves in the form of waves. He explained it by suggesting that any point source of light radiates light waves in all directions simultaneously in three dimensions. The particles in its surrounding vibrate periodically under the influence of wave energy. In this type of propagation, the points of a particular location are present at the same phase with respect to time. The plane formed by this locus of points or particles in the same phase is known as a wavefront.

FAQs on Wave Front

1. What are Wavefronts? Explain with an Example.

A wavefront is a place over which an optical wave has the same phase. For example, a wavefront is a surface over which the crest of the sinusoidal water wave has a maximum value and the trough of the water wave has a minimum value. Also, these waves lie in the same phase.

According to the Huygen’s principle, the wave nature of wave propagation of the light waves: Every point on a wavefront is the secondary spherical wavelet that spreads in the forward direction at the speed of light. The new wavefront is formed out of the tangential surface to all these secondary wavelets.

2. What is the Wavefront Aberration?

In an optical system, the deviation of a wavefront from the perfect planar wavefront is called the wavefront aberration. Wavefront aberrations are usually described as both the sampled image and the collection of two-dimensional polynomial terms. Minimization of these aberrations is possible for many applications in optical systems by using guided treatments like Wavefront-guided LASIK.

3. State Three Advantages of Wavefront LASIK.

  1. Precise correction of eyes refractive errors.

  2. Lessens higher-order aberrations.

  3. Improves issues with contrast sensitivity, seeing black letters on a white background.

4. What are the different types of wavefront?

This theory was essentially described through the imagination of waves emanating from a point source in all directions. So all the wavefronts are described in the form of three-dimensional spaces. When a wave propagates from the point in all directions then it is named a spherical wavefront. It can be understood by imagining the light emitted by the sun or any light source. If the light source is in the form of a line or sleet then the wavefronts formed are in the shape of cylindrical faces that propagate remaining in concentrated circles. The other type of wavefront is known as the Plane wavefront. The wave faces reaching from an infinite position are observed only in discrete wave surfaces that are straight.

5. What are the other works of Christian Huygens?

Christian Huygens was born on 14 April 1629 in the backdrop of the renaissance of Europe. He has contributed to the study of natural physics in many fields and is also known as the inventor of many types of equipment that we use even today. His interest in maths and physics made him the great pioneer of physics who propounded the theory of the wave nature of light. This was a groundbreaking development in the field of optical physics. Other than this he is also known for studies of the rings of Saturn. He is also the discoverer of the satellite Titan. He invented the famous pendulum clock that was in trend for almost 300 years and further. He is also known for fully mechanising the unobservable physical phenomena in terms of mathematics. Several improved telescopes designed by him have been used in the discovery of space objects by many astronomers coming later. In classical mechanics, he was the first to describe centripetal force and centrifugal force in terms of geometry.  All In all, he is the father of modern mathematical physics and popularly is known as the first theoretical physicist of the world.

6. What is Optics?

Physics is the study of all-natural phenomena on earth. This subject also includes the study of the properties and behaviour of light. Light is described as a type of energy that exists in the form of electromagnetic radiation or waves. The frequency and amplitude determine the difference between different types of light such as visible light, Infrared light, Ultraviolet rays among others. It gets reflected from certain surfaces that are plain and shining. Refraction is another phenomenon observed in nature. Using this principle lenses are made and used. The study of all these phenomena is known as Optics.

7. What is classical physics?

while considering the objects and phenomena in nature, these are found in varied shapes and sizes. It can be larger objects like planets and other celestial bodies. It can also be very small like nanoparticles or electrons and neutrons. The phenomenon can be related to each other or can be distinct closed processes. Based on these facts modern physics has been categorised into 4 domains. The 4 domains are classical mechanics, relativistic mechanics,  quantum mechanics, and quantum field theory. The branch dealing with the earliest theories that are mostly applicable in nature is known as classical physics.

8. How can I remember all the formulas of optical physics?

In the chapter on optics of class 11, students learn about the different properties of light. The use of lenses is described with the help of geometrical diagrams. Various formulas for the changing direction of light and the property of images are derived from these geometrical representations. Students have to understand the geometry of the light draws to remember the concepts and formulas for the long term. Classes available on the Vedantu website is also a very good source to clear all these concepts within time.

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