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Optics is the branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics began with the development of lenses by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians. The earliest known lenses, made from polished crystal, often quartz, date from as early as 2000 BC from Crete (Archaeological Museum of Heraclion, Greece). Lenses from Rhodes date around 700 BC, as do Assyrian lenses such as the Nimrud lens.


Borrowed from Middle French optique or Medieval Latin opticus, from Ancient Greek ὀπτῐκός (optikós, “of or for sight”), from ὀπτός (optós, “visible”) +‎ -ῐκός (-ikós, “-ic”, adjectival suffix).


  1. Of, or relating to sight; visual
    • Strabismus is an optical defect
  2. Designed to assist or enhance sight
    • A microscope is an optical instrument
  3. Of, or relating to optics
    • Refraction is an optical effect
  4. Of, or relating to visible light
    • Optical telescopes don't work when it is cloudy
  5. Incorporating light-sensitive devices
    • An optical switch opens the door automatically

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Optics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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