A new method is proposed for modeling wave propagation in two-dimensional, smoothly varying inhomogeneous media. This method is valid in the limit of small wavelength and constructs the wave propagator by combining contributions from all relevant rays. The form of each contribution was reported in J. Opt. Soc. Am. A <b>14</b>, 1279 (1997). The resulting estimate for the total field takes a strikingly simple form, which associates a Gaussian field with each ray. This form is asymptotically correct and free of the usual difficulties associated with caustics.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
M. A. Alonso and G. W. Forbes, "Asymptotic estimation of the optical wave propagator. I. Derivation of a new method," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 15, 1329-1340 (1998)