NCERT Class 12 Physics Ray Optics and Optical Instruments

Read and download NCERT Class 12 Physics Ray Optics and Optical Instruments chapter in NCERT book for Class 12 Physics. You can download latest NCERT eBooks for 2021 chapter wise in PDF format free from This Physics textbook for Class 12 is designed by NCERT and is very useful for students. Please also refer to the NCERT solutions for Class 12 Physics to understand the answers of the exercise questions given at the end of this chapter

Ray Optics And Optical Instruments Class 12 Physics NCERT

Class 12 Physics students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter Ray Optics And Optical Instruments in standard 12. This NCERT Book for Grade 12 Physics will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

Ray Optics And Optical Instruments NCERT Class 12

Chapter Nine



Nature has endowed the human eye (retina) with the sensitivity to detect electromagnetic waves within a small range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic radiation belonging to this region of the spectrum (wavelength of about 400 nm to 750 nm) is called light. It is mainly through light and the sense of vision that we know and interpret the world around us.

There are two things that we can intuitively mention about light from common experience. First, that it travels with enormous speed and second, that it travels in a straight line. It took some time for people to realise that the speed of light is finite and measurable. Its presently accepted value in vacuum is c = 2.99792458 × 108 m s–1. For many purposes, it suffices to take c = 3 × 108 m s–1. The speed of light in vacuum is the highest speed attainable in nature.

The intuitive notion that light travels in a straight line seems to contradict what we have learnt in Chapter 8, that light is an electromagnetic wave of wavelength belonging to the visible part of the spectrum. How to reconcile the two facts? The answer is that the wavelength of light is very small compared to the size of ordinary objects that we encounter commonly (generally of the order of a few cm or larger).In this situation, as you will learn in Chapter 10, a light wave can be considered to travel from one point to another, along a straight line joining them. The path is called a ray of light, and a bundle of such raysconstitutes a beam of light.

In this chapter, we consider the phenomena of reflection, refraction and dispersion of light, using the ray picture of light. Using the basic laws of reflection and refraction, we shall study the image formation by plane and spherical reflecting and refracting surfaces. We then go on to describe the construction and working of some important optical instruments, including the human eye. 


We are familiar with the laws of reflection. The angle of reflection (i.e., the angle between reflected ray and the normal to the reflecting surface or the mirror) equals the angle of incidence (angle between incident ray and the normal). Also that the incident ray, reflected ray and the normal to the reflecting surface at the point of incidence lie in the same plane (Fig. 9.1). These laws are valid at each point on any reflecting surface whether plane or curved. However, we shall restrict our discussion to the special case of curved surfaces, that is, spherical surfaces. The normal in this case is to be taken as normal to the tangent to surface at the point of incidence. That is, the normal is along the radius, the line joining the centre of curvature of the mirror to the point of incidence.

We have already studied that the geometric centre of a spherical mirror is called its pole while that of a spherical lens is called its optical centre. The line joining the pole and the centre of curvature of the spherical mirror is known as the principal axis. In the case of spherical lenses, the principal axis is the line joining the optical centre with its principal focus as you will see later.

9.2.1 Sign convention

To derive the relevant formulae for reflection by spherical mirrors and refraction by spherical lenses, we must first adopt a sign convention for measuring distances. In this book, we shall follow the Cartesian sign convention. According to this convention, all distances are measured from the pole of the mirror or the optical centre of the lens. The distances measured in the same direction as the incident light are taken as positive and those measured in the direction opposite to the direction of incident light are taken as negative (Fig. 9.2). The heights measured upwards with respect to x-axis and normal to the principal axis (x-axis) of the mirror/ lens are taken as positive (Fig. 9.2). The heights measured downwards are taken as negative. With a common accepted convention, it turns out that a single formula for spherical mirrors and a single formula for spherical lenses can handle all different cases. 9.2.2 Focal length of spherical mirrors

Figure 9.3 shows what happens when a parallel beam of light is incident on (a) a concave mirror, and (b) a convex mirror. We assume that the rays are paraxial, i.e., they are incident at points close to the pole P of the mirror and make small angles with the principal axis. The reflected rays converge at a point F on the principal axis of a concave mirror [Fig. 9.3(a)]. For a convex mirror, the reflected rays appear to diverge from a point F on its principal axis [Fig. 9.3(b)]. The point F is called the principal focus of the mirror. If the parallel paraxial beam of light were incident, making some angle with the principal axis, the reflected rays would converge (or appear to diverge) from a point in a plane through F normal to the principal axis. This is called the focal plane of the mirror 9.2.3 The mirror equation If rays emanating from a point actually meet at another point after reflection and/or refraction, that point is called the image of the first point. 


9.1 A small candle, 2.5 cm in size is placed at 27 cm in front of a concave mirror of radius of curvature 36 cm. At what distance from the mirror should a screen be placed in order to obtain a sharp image? Describe the nature and size of the image. If the candle is moved closer to the mirror, how would the screen have to be moved?

9.2 A 4.5 cm needle is placed 12 cm away from a convex mirror of focal length 15 cm. Give the location of the image and the magnification. Describe what happens as the needle is moved farther from the mirror.

9.3 A tank is filled with water to a height of 12.5 cm. The apparent depth of a needle lying at the bottom of the tank is measured by a microscope to be 9.4 cm. What is the refractive index of water? If water is replaced by a liquid of refractive index 1.63 up to the same height, by what distance would the microscope have to be moved to focus on the needle again?

9.5 A small bulb is placed at the bottom of a tank containing water to a depth of 80cm. What is the area of the surface of water through which light from the bulb can emerge out? Refractive index of water is 1.33. (Consider the bulb to be a point source.)

9.6 A prism is made of glass of unknown refractive index. A parallel beam of light is incident on a face of the prism. The angle of minimu deviation is measured to be 40°. What is the refractive index of thematerial of the prism? The refracting angle of the prism is 60°. If the prism is placed in water (refractive index 1.33), predict the new angle of minimum deviation of a parallel beam of light.

9.7 Double-convex lenses are to be manufactured from a glass of refractive index 1.55, with both faces of the same radius of curvature. What is the radius of curvature required if the focal length is to be 20cm?

9.8 A beam of light converges at a point P. Now a lens is placed in the path of the convergent beam 12cm from P. At what point does the beam converge if the lens is (a) a convex lens of focal length 20cm, and (b) a concave lens of focal length 16cm?

9.9 An object of size 3.0cm is placed 14cm in front of a concave lens of focal length 21cm. Describe the image produced by the lens. What happens if the object is moved further away from the lens?

9.10 What is the focal length of a convex lens of focal length 30cm in contact with a concave lens of focal length 20cm? Is the system a converging or a diverging lens? Ignore thickness of the lenses.

9.11 A compound microscope consists of an objective lens of focal length

2.0cm and an eyepiece of focal length 6.25cm separated by a distance of 15cm. How far from the objective should an object be placed in order to obtain the final image at (a) the least distance of distinct vision (25cm), and (b) at infinity? What is the magnifying power of the microscope in each case?

9.12 A person with a normal near point (25cm) using a compound microscope with objective of focal length 8.0 mm and an eyepiece of focal length 2.5cm can bring an object placed at 9.0mm from the objective in sharp focus. What is the separation between the two lenses? Calculate the magnifying power of the microscope,

9.13 A small telescope has an objective lens of focal length 144cm and an eyepiece of focal length 6.0cm. What is the magnifying power of the telescope? What is the separation between the objective and the eyepiece? 


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Chapter 1 Electric Charges and Fields
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Chapter 2 Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance
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Chapter 3 Current Electricity
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Chapter 4 Moving Charges and Magnetism
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Chapter 5 Magnetism and Matter
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Chapter 6 Electromagnetic Induction
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Chapter 7 Alternating Current
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Chapter 8 Electromagnetic Waves
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Chapter 9 Ray Optics and Optical Instruments
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Chapter 10 Wave Optics
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Chapter 11 Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter
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Chapter 12 Atoms
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Chapter 13 Nuclei
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Chapter 14 Semiconductor Electronics Materials Devices and Simple Circuits
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Chapter 15 Communication Systems
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Part I Answers and Solutions
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Part II Answers and Solutions
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Part II Appendix
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Part II BiblioGraphy
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