Reproducing the Fresnel-Arago experiment to illustrate physical optics
Now published in Photoniques, the journal of the French Optical Society, international (english) edition: Is there a bright spot in the shadow of an opaque disk? Nearly 200 years ago, Augustin Fresnel and François Arago’s remarkable answer to this question validated the wave theory of light and inaugurated the modern theories of diffraction. Today, their renowned experiment can be easily reproduced using lasers and cameras. Far beyond its historical interest, the experiment is a versatile platform to illustrate the main concepts of optical physics, including diffraction, interference, speckle, and Fourier optics.
See also our series of videos on the youtube channel of Institut Fresnel.