Textbooks on Optics: Alternatives to Hetch-Zajac's "Optics"

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm looking for an alternative textbook to the Hetch-Zajac's one. I am a physics undergraduate student, and this is the recommended book for the subject, so I would like to find a book that covers more or less the same topics.

There are two main problems I find at Hetch:
  1. Firstly, its extreme verbosity, which often makes it very heavy to read. It tends to wander off and get lost in the details.
  2. On the other hand, and especially, I find annoying how scattered is all the information it includes. A greater synthesis of the information would help a lot to assimilate the contents. A couple of tables summarizing the main formulas, for example, would be welcome.
I am particularly interested in themes 9, 10, 12 and 13 of the fifth edition: interference, diffraction, coherence and modern optics.

Thanks in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I had the exact same impression of Hecht's book when I was a student. Here are some recommendations - pick which ever work for you or are available.

Pohl's Introduction to Physics: Volume 2: Electrodynamics and Optics by Pohl (& Pohl)
Modern Optics by Robert D. Guenther
Handbook of Optics Volume 1 of 3rd edition
Introduction to Statistical Optics by Edward L. O'Neill
Introduction to Nonlinear Optics by Geoffrey New
 
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  • #3
vanhees71
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Of course there's also the all-time classic by Born and Wolf.
 
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Dr Transport
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If this is your first foray into optics, Born and Wolf isn't the book to learn from.
 
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Born and Wolf might be the hardest book to read I ever had. There's good stuff in there, but it's better as a reference when all else has failed, IMO.

If you really want to learn about diffraction and interference, I would go with Goodman's Fourier Optics book.
 
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Born and Wolf might be the hardest book to read I ever had. There's good stuff in there, but it's better as a reference when all else has failed, IMO.

If you really want to learn about diffraction and interference, I would go with Goodman's Fourier Optics book.
Before reading Goodman's book, read and work through Gaskill's book on Linear Systems and Optics, unless you have a very strong linear systems background.
 
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  • #7
Hecht and Zajac were my professors in graduate school - they're both as scatterbrained as the book is!
 
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  • #8
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If you really want to learn about diffraction and interference, I would go with Goodman's Fourier Optics book.
I never really understood Fourier Optics until I read Voelz's Computational Fourier Optics.
 
  • #9
Hecht and Zajac were my professors in graduate school - they're both as scatterbrained as the book is!
But an excellent, comprehensive and comprehensible discussion of interference and diffraction and Fourier transforms can be found in "Vibrations and Waves" by A.P. French MIT Press...
 
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