The field of optics studies the properties and behaviors of light. This includes the interactions of absorption, emission, reflection, refraction and diffraction. Use Wolfram|Alpha to compute properties of these phenomena. Learn about atomic spectral lines and lasers or calculate important measurements in photography.


Compute total internal reflection, Fresnel's law or the plate reflectance of a Fabry–Pérot interferometer.

Do a Fresnel's law computation:

Explore image reflection in a convex mirror:

Explore image reflection in a concave mirror:


Compute diffraction patterns for a large range of diffraction obstacles, including single slits, double slits and more.

Compute a diffraction pattern for a single slit:

Compute a diffraction pattern for a circular aperture:

Explore the diffraction pattern and maxima for multiple slit diffraction:

Electromagnetic Radiation Emission

Find the visible spectrum of different substances. Obtain initial and final atomic states for different lines.

Use the Rydberg formula to compute spectral lines:

Look up atomic spectra:


Compute refractive indices, refractions using Snell's law or the position of rainbows.

Compute refractions using Snell's law:

Compute the refraction of light in a prism:

Do computations using the thin lens equation:

Calculate the height of a rainbow:


Get information on different types of lasers and their properties. Examine their frequencies and colors.

Get information about a laser (or maser):

Compare multiple lasers:


Compute field of view, f-stop, depth of field, focal length and more.

Do f-stop arithmetic:

Compute subject magnification:



  • Art & Design
  • Colors
  • Oscillations & Waves
  • Electromagnetic Radiation Absorption

    Examine absorption lines, compute how water and ice absorb light and find the cutoff wavelengths for various chemicals.

    Find a UV cutoff wavelength for a chemical:

    Compute with the Beer–Lambert law: