Most of us don’t give much thought about the physics behind the phenomenon we witness in our everyday life. For example, how images forms in our eyes, our phone catch signals, pixels on the TV screen, optical fiber cables connected to our systems …all the way up to the formation of the rainbow after it rains
The significance of optics originates from the need to comprehend and analyze the visible light around us. How do we perceive structures? Their colors? Shapes? The answers lie in laws of optics- The world as we see is just a cluster of images formed on our retinas due to the varying electromagnetic waves of light. The shapes and structures get defined due to the reflection and bending of light rays, the colors are distinguished by the property of the surface’s absorption and reflection of EM waves of differing frequencies.
The (EM) waves, pixels and their applications
It’s these EM waves, having a vast spectrum and various properties, most applied ones being: radio waves, infrared waves, visible light, UV rays, X-rays, gamma rays among others, that make up for the majority of applied optical technology devices.
The pixels are the smallest digital/graphical unit that constitutes everything from digital texts, images, videos, or anything displayed on the screen!
Now, can these simple-sounding properties be applied in advanced technology? Absolutely yes! By equipping ourselves with knowledge about their basic working and properties, we leap into a colossal world where modern human researches, experiments, innovates, and applies Optics to jump into the future!
The noteworthiness of Optics is manifested in the following examples:
Medical imaging, clinical diagnostics, 3-D printing, optical data communication, digital holography, satellite communication, DNA sequencing, blood testing, laser (weapons, pharmaceutical applications etc.), and even in defense (laser gyros navigations, surveillance systems, etc.) and many more.
Among these intriguing gadgets, the one that I found interesting and am about to discuss is the BAE ADAPTIV system for defense.
BAE ADAPTIV camouflage system
Unlike conventional camouflage systems that use net or paints, ADAPTIV is designed to blend instantly with the surroundings. They work by using hexagonal pixels that can be attached to ships, tanks, ballistic armor plates, etc. and are electrically powered. These metal made pixels are individually heated and cooled using semi-conducting technology. They are designed and fitted in such a way that it makes it easier to remove and replace them in case of damage during battles.
Once mounted, ADAPTIV renders the vehicle invisible to infrared rays or other surveillance technology and significantly reduces the detection range in any other way (manual too!).
All in all, we are affected by light and electromagnetic spectrum way more than it shows on the surface. Since almost all physical phenomenon are interlinked. And the deeper we dig, we find them more and more interesting!