There are a number of introductory/undergraduate optics books in the market. This is another one, based on courses taught by the authors. The choice of topics covered is what one would expect in such a course, ranging from Snell’s law and ray tracing to Maxwell equations, Fourier optics and photonic systems.

What is different about this book is that the whole gamut of introductory optics can be covered in one semester, as only the basic essentials of each topic are covered. The prerequisites assumed are rather minimal—introductory physics and basic calculus. The appendices cover other requisite math such as complex numbers, volume integrals and matrices. What is surprising (and not usually found in introductory texts) is the rather extensive discussion on calculating the Cornu spiral. Also presented is the appropriate Mathematica code. The other topic not usually encountered is the characteristic-matrix technique for dealing with thin films and layer stacks.

However, in my mind, what is unique about this book is the easy readability. Concepts and equations are presented in little chunks that add up. There are plenty of worked examples and a large number of problems at the end of each chapter. The book is ideal either for use in the classroom or for self-study.

Review by Vengu Lakshminarayanan, University of Waterloo, Canada

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.