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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Role of Fourier theory in optics education
Author(s): Jack D. Gaskill

Paper Abstract

Fourier theory has found application in many areas of science and engineering, but perhaps nowhere has it found a more natural home than in the field of optics. Why? Because optics, by its very nature, allows the utility of this incredible mathematical tool to be viewed directly; in other disciplines, its consequences can usually only be imagined or, at best, observed indirectly. Such a unique characteristic serves as a powerful educational aid for those in the process of learning about the field. The thesis that a polychromatic optical wavefield consists of a superposition of temporal-frequency components is easily demonstrated in the classroom, as is the decomposition of an arbitrary monochromatic wavefield into its plane-wave spectrum. Yet another demonstration helps explain the spatial-frequency performance of an optical imaging system. The now-popular Fourier techniques that provide a solid mathematical foundation for exploring the physics associated with these and other phenomena are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1992
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 1603, Education in Optics, (1 March 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.57831
Show Author Affiliations
Jack D. Gaskill, Optical Sciences Ctr./Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1603:
Education in Optics
Gregory B. Altshuler; Brian J. Thompson, Editor(s)

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