OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 55, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 1965
  • pp: 360–362

Exact Calculation of the Field due to a Single Fresnel Zone

B. A. LIPPMANN  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 55, Issue 4, pp. 360-362 (1965)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (444 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The consistency of the Fresnel zone construction is customarily checked by verifying that it correctly describes wave propagation from a point source in free space. The calculation, based on an approximate evaluation of the contribution of individual Fresnel zones to the total field, leads to the Fresnel theorem: the total field is just one-half that due to the first zone alone.

We show here that if the Fresnel zones are defined on a plane passing through the midpoint of the line joining the source point to the field point, the field due to each Fresnel zone may be calculated exactly. When the Fresnel zones are defined on a plane perpendicular to the line between the source and field points, the contribution of the first zone is equal to the total field multiplied by the factor 1+ (l+π/kR′)-2. Here, k is the wavenumber and R′ is the distance separating source and field points. Thus, for this geometry, the Fresnel theorem holds only in the limit kR′»1; for arbitrary kR′, the factor quoted must be used.

A formula, valid for any Fresnel zone, and for arbitrary orientation of the plane on which the Fresnel zones are defined, is given in the text.

B. A. LIPPMANN, "Exact Calculation of the Field due to a Single Fresnel Zone," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 360-362 (1965)

Sort:  Author  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. See, for example, M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon Press, Inc., New York, 1959), p. 373.
  2. This fact was noticed by the author, and the details of the calculation were described in 1952 in NDA 18-9, "The Huygens’ Principle Treatment of Reflection from a Plane Mirror," by H. Goldstein, B. A. Lippmann, and L. A. Goldmuntz. This (unpublished) report was issued by Nuclear Development Associates, Inc., White Plains, New York. The present paper reproduces the relevant parts of this report.
  3. These ellipsoids are defined by (A4) where n is allowed to vary continuously.

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited