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Chapter 14. Section 2 Thin lenses. Objectives. Use ray diagrams to find the position of an image produced by a converging or diverging lens, and identify the image as real or virtual. Solve problems using the thin-lens equation. Calculate the magnification of lenses.

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Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Section 2 Thin lenses


  • Use ray diagrams to find the position of an image produced by a converging or diverging lens, and identify the image as real or virtual.

  • Solve problems using the thin-lens equation.

  • Calculate the magnification of lenses.

  • Describe the positioning of lenses in compound microscopes and refracting telescopes


  • What is a lens?

  • A lens is a transparent object that refracts light rays such that they converge or diverge to create an image.

  • Lenses serve to refract light at each boundary. As a ray of light enters a lens, it is refracted; and as the same ray of light exits the lens, it is refracted again. The net effect of the refraction of light at these two boundaries is that the light ray has changed directions. Because of the special geometric shape of a lens, the light rays are refracted such that they form image.


  • Like mirrors, lenses form images, but lenses do so by refraction instead of reflection.

  • The images formed can be real or virtual, depending on the type of lens and the placement of an object

  • Lenses are commonly used to form images in optical instruments such as cameras, telescopes, and microscope.

Types of lens
Types of lens

  • A lens that is thicker in the middle than it is at the rim is an example of a converginglens.

  • A lens that is thinner in the middle than at the rim is an example of a diverginglens.

Types of lens1
Types of lens

  • The focal point is the location where the image of an object at an infinite distance from a converging lens if focused.

  • Lenses have a focal point on each side of the lens.

  • The distance from the focal point to the center of the lens is called the focal length, f.

Characteristic of lens
Characteristic of lens

  • Converging lenses can produce real or virtual images of real objects.

  • The image produced by a converging lens is real and inverted when the object is outside the focal point.

  • The image produced by a converging lens is virtual and upright when the object is inside the focal point.

Characteristic of lens1
Characteristic of lens

  • Diverging lenses produce virtual images from real objects.

  • The image created by a diverging lens is always a virtual, smaller image.

The thin lens equation
The thin-lens equation

  • The equation that relates object and image distances for a lens is call the thin-lens equation.

  • It is derived using the assumption that the lens is very thin.


  • Magnification of a lens depends on object and image distances.

Sign of the equation
Sign of the equation

  • If close attention is given to the sign conventions defined in the table, then the magnification will describe the image’s size and orientation


  • An object is placed 30.0 cm in front of a converging lens and then 12.5 cm in front of a diverging lens. Both lenses have a focal length of 10.0 cm. For both cases, find the image distance and the magnification. Describe the images.


. Define

Given: fconverging = 10.0 cm fdiverging = –10.0 cm

pconverging= 30.0 cm pdiverging = 12.5 cm

Unknown: qconverging = ? qdiverging = ?Mconverging= ?Mdiverging = ?


  • Diagrams:


  • Choose an equation or situation: The thin-lens equation can be used to find the image distance, and the equation for magnification will serve to describe the size and orientation of the image.


  • Rearrange the equation to isolate the unknown:

    • For the converging lens:


  • For the diverging lens:


  • These values and signs for the converging lens indicate a real, inverted, smaller image. This is expected because the object distance is longer than twice the focal length of the converging lens. The values and signs for the diverging lens indicate a virtual, upright, smaller image formed inside the focal point. This is the only kind of image diverging lenses form.

Eyeglasses and contact lenses
Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses

  • The transparent front of the eye, called the cornea, acts like a lens.

  • The eye also contains a crystalline lens, that further refracts light toward the light-sensitive back of the eye, called the retina.

  • Two conditions, myopia and hyperopia, occur when light is not focused properly retina. Converging and diverging lenses can be used to correct these conditions.

Combination of thin lens
Combination of Thin Lens

  • An image formed by a lens can be used as the object for a second lens.

  • Compound microscopes use two converging lenses. Greater magnification can be achieved by combining two or more lenses.

  • Refracting telescopes also use two converging lenses.


  • Do problems 1-4 in your book page 495