For the different scientific fields that consider optics, see Optics.
The optical field is a term used in physics and vector calculus to designate the electric field shown as E in the electromagnetic wave equation which can be derived from Maxwell's Equations. In electromagnetic theory, the electromagnetic wave propagates such that both the magnetic field oscillation, and the electric field oscillation is perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave. As with any wave, the electromagnetic wave transports energy, thus the total energy density is shared between the constituent electric and magnetic fields. Since the electric field is considerably more effective at exerting forces and doing work on charges than the magnetic field, the electric field E is referred to as the optical field.