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Proceedings Paper

What on earth is a ray and how can we use them best?
Author(s): Gregory W. Forbes; Miguel Angel Alonso
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Paper Abstract

Although rays form the basis of both our initiative thinking and our numerical modeling of optical systems, we must remember that they are no more than mathematical constructs with a relatively tenuous connection to the physical world. What's more, certain aspects of their link to wave-based models of optical systems have always been problematic. For example, the limit to what rays can tell us about the associated wave field remains unclear. The current state of the art is reviewed and a framework is then outlined that offers a more direct appreciation of these issues and promises extended capabilities for ray-based methods. The new approach involves modeling wave propagation by using--as an intermediate tool--a windowed Fourier transform of the field.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3482, International Optical Design Conference 1998, (21 September 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.321963
Show Author Affiliations
Gregory W. Forbes, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
Miguel Angel Alonso, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3482:
International Optical Design Conference 1998
Leo R. Gardner; Kevin P. Thompson, Editor(s)

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