Extending the work of earlier papers on the relativistic-front description of paraxial optics and the formulation of Fourier optics for vector waves consistent with the Maxwell equations, we generalize the Jones calculus of axial plane waves to describe the action of the most general linear optical system on paraxial Maxwell fields. Several examples are worked out, and in each case it is shown that the formalism leads to physically correct results. The importance of retaining the small components of the field vectors along the axis of the system for a consistent description is emphasized.
© 1985 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 20, 1984
Manuscript Accepted: March 25, 1985
Published: August 1, 1985
N. Mukunda, R. Simon, and E. C. G. Sudarshan, "Paraxial Maxwell beams: transformation by general linear optical systems," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 1291-1296 (1985)