This excellent, perspicuous textbook, based on Fourier and statistical optics, details the derivations of the equations used to mathematize the physics of optical microscopy. Mertz begins with the electric field and clearly, step by step, develops the interactions with the microscope and the specimen in its propagation to the detector. He then relaxes the constraints to yield approximations that can be analytically solved for specific cases, and carefully states the assumptions and their limitations.

The author extracts the key points of each topic, elucidates the often tacit limitations and clearly communicates them to the reader. The mathematical appendices summarize the necessary mathematics used in the book. The pedagogical problem sets and the references enhance the chapter’s content. The clean figures are well designed and easily understood. The last chapter of the book describes the formidable problem of optical imaging in highly scattering media, but I view it as an exciting challenge for graduate students to work on.

Review by Barry R. Masters, Fellow of AAAS, OSA and SPIE

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