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Homework Help: Focal Length of a Plano-convex Lens

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    The given problem:

    What is the focal length of a Plano-convex lens, assuming parallel rays of light from s=∞ is traveling from the flat end of the lens. The lens is a glass hemisphere of radius R. Additionally the index of refraction of glass is higher than that of air.


    2. Relevant equations

    General lens maker equation:
    ng/s +nair/s' = (ng + nair)/R
    ==> assuming s=∞; s'=R/(ng-nair)


    3. The attempt at a solution

    I do not know if the distance to the focal point (i.e., the focal length s', as s=∞) is the distance starting FROM the point where the light hits the lens, or where the light exits the lens?
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2010 #2

    HallsofIvy

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    Science Advisor

    The focal length is not either of those. It is the distance from the focus to the point where the line through the focus, parallel to the axis of the lens, passes through the curving face. The focal length has nothing to do with the direction from which the light is coming, or, indeed, if there is any light at all!

     
  4. Jan 31, 2010 #3
    So, what does s' represent in this particular case?
     
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