The change of direction of propagation of any wave, such as an electromagnetic wave, when it passes from one medium to another in which the wave velocity is different. Simply put, the bending of incident rays as they pass from one medium to another, such as air to water.


Resolving power, or the quantitative measure of the ability of an optical instrument to produce separable images of different points on an object; the capability of making distinguishable the individual parts of an object, closely adjacent images, or sources of light.


The mirrors (or reflectors) making up the laser cavity containing the laser rod or tube. The mirrors reflect light back and forth to build up amplification under an external stimulus. Emission is through one of them, called a coupler, which is partially transmissive.