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Proceedings Paper

Limits To Concentration In Physical Optics And Wave Mechanics
Author(s): I. M. Bassett; R. Winston
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Paper Abstract

Let light of well defined specific intensity I < Imax enter a passive optical system from a medium of refractive index n = 1. Then wherever n = 1 and the specific intensity I' is well defined, I' < 'max- This inequality is obtainable from the Second Law of thermody-namics. If geometrical optics holds everywhere, it is a theorem of geometrical optics. In this paper it is shown that, even if diffraction and interference effects occur within the optical device, the inequality remains valid. A quantum description of the electromagnetic field is employed, and the inequality is obtained from the unitarity of the time evolution operator in quantum mechanics. Only "one photon" or weak-field theory is employed; many-photon effects are not included. Thus, despite the quantum language, the domain of validity of the derivation is that of classical electromagnetic theory. An analogous inequality, subject to analogous limitations, is obtained for the density in phase space, for an ordinary scalar particle undergoing elastic scattering.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 January 1984
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 0441, Intl Conf on Nonimaging Concentrators, (5 January 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.937685
Show Author Affiliations
I. M. Bassett, University of Sydney (Australia)
R. Winston, University of Chicago (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0441:
Intl Conf on Nonimaging Concentrators
Mitchell C. Ruda, Editor(s)

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