microwave optics

Microwave optics

The study of those properties of microwaves which are analogous to the properties of light waves in optics. The fact that microwaves and light waves are both electromagnetic waves, the major difference being that of frequency, already suggests that their properties should be alike in many respects. But the reason microwaves behave more like light waves than, for instance, very low-frequency waves for electrical power (50 or 60 Hz) is primarily that the microwave wavelengths are usually comparable to or smaller than the ordinary physical dimensions of objects interacting with the waves.

As is the case with light, a beam of microwaves propagates along a straight line in a perfectly homogeneous infinite medium. This phenomenon follows directly from a general solution of the wave equation in which the direction of a wave normal does not change in a homogeneous medium. See Wave equation

With some modification the laws of reflection and refraction can be applied to the propagation of microwaves inside a dielectric-filled metallic waveguide. Another interesting application is associated with the microwave analog of total internal reflection in optics. A properly designed dielectric rod (without metal walls) can serve as a waveguide by totally reflecting the elementary plane waves. Still another case of interest is that of a microwave lens. See Reflection of electromagnetic radiation, Refraction of waves

In an analogous manner to light, a microwave undergoes diffraction when it encounters an obstacle or an opening which is comparable to or somewhat smaller than its wavelength.

microwave optics

[′mī·krə‚wāv ′äp·tiks]
(electromagnetism)
The study of those properties of microwaves which are analogous to the properties of light waves in optics.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jenn (electrical and computer engineering, Naval Postgraduate School) discusses the physical and engineering aspects of radar and laser cross sections, first introducing the basic theorems, concepts, and methods and then presenting chapters on frequency-domain numerical methods, time-domain numerical methods, microwave optics, complex targets, radar cross section reduction, measurement of radar cross section, and laser cross section.
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