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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on developments in optics in the nineteenth century, beginning with concepts and theories on light. It provides a background on eighteenth-century optics, citing the ideas of scientists such as Christiaan Huygens and Charles Coulomb, before discussing experiments on ray optics, polarization, interference, diffraction, and wave particles. It also considers the work of Jean Baptiste Biot, François Arago, Etienne Louis Malus, Augustin Jean Fresnel, and Thomas Young; the controversy between Biot and Arago over the theory of chromatic polarization; the emergence of a new mathematical optics; and experiments on the physical structure of wave optics, the diffraction integral, and unpolarized light. The article concludes with an assessment of the state of optics after 1840.

Keywords: optics, light, ray optics, polarization, interference, diffraction, wave particles, wave optics, diffraction integral, unpolarized light

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