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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 18, Iss. 10 — Oct. 1, 2001
  • pp: 2557–2564

Using rays better. IV. Theory for refraction and reflection

G. W. Forbes  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 18, Issue 10, pp. 2557-2564 (2001)

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A new ray-based method is extended to include the modeling of optical interfaces. The essential idea is that the wave field and its derivatives are always expressed as a superposition of ray contributions of flexible width. Interfaces can be analyzed in this way by introducing a family of surfaces that smoothly connects them. Even though the ray-to-wave link may appear to be obscured at caustics, the standard Fresnel coefficients (for plane waves at flat interfaces between homogeneous media) are shown to be universally applicable on a ray-by-ray basis. Thus, in the interaction at the interface, the surface’s curvature and any gradients in the refractive indices influence only the higher asymptotic corrections. Further, this method finally gives access to such corrections.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(000.3860) General : Mathematical methods in physics
(080.2710) Geometric optics : Inhomogeneous optical media
(080.2720) Geometric optics : Mathematical methods (general)
(350.7420) Other areas of optics : Waves

G. W. Forbes, "Using rays better. IV. Theory for refraction and reflection," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 2557-2564 (2001)

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  1. G. W. Forbes and M. A. Alonso, “Using rays better. I. Theory for smoothly varying media,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 1132–1145 (2001).
  2. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 7th ed. (Cambridge U. Press, 1999). See Sec. 1.5.
  3. Y. A. Kravtsov and Y. A. Orlov, Geometrical Optics of Inhomogeneous Media (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1990). See Section 2.5.
  4. A detailed extension to three dimensions is beyond the scope of this paper, but many of the necessary ideas are contained in Ref. 1 and are demonstrated in the examples given by M. A. Alonso and G. W. Forbes, “Using rays better. II. Ray families for simple wave fields,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 1146–1159 (2001).
  5. It is possible, of course, to consider other families which smoothly connect one interface to the next in an optical system or where the x coordinate may also scale with ζ. However, Eq. (2.3) is sufficient for the present purposes.
  6. G. W. Forbes and M. A. Alonso, “What on earth is a ray and how can we use them best?” in Proceedings of the International Optical Design Conference 1998, L. R. Gardner and K. P. Thompson, eds., Proc. SPIE 3482, 22–31 (1998).
  7. Since f has the dimensions of length, it would be safer in general to write f(x)≡f0, where f0 is a constant, and then z=ζf0. However, the special case given in the body (which follows when f0 is taken to be one unit of length—either mm or whatever) is more convenient for making the connection to the earlier results.
  8. The Legendre transformation of the square root of a quadratic is straightforward. For L (ẋ)=(a+2bẋ+ cẋ2)1/2, it follows that p=(b+cẋ)/L (ẋ), which can be solved to find ẋ={p[(ac−b2)/(c−p2)]1/2 −b}/c. The end result then takes the form H (p)≔px−L =−bp/c−[(a−b2 /c)(1−p2 /c)]1/2, and this gives an easy path to Eq. (3.4).
  9. An alternative interpretation for p follows directly upon observing that (p, 0)=κN +nT /|T | for  κ=−n(f+ζf x ˙)/|T |. That is, p is the transverse displacement (i.e., zero z component) between the surface normal and a point that sits n length units along the ray tangent from the surface. This gives the useful connection that p is exactly the ray-direction variable used by G. W. Forbes and B. D. Stone, “Restricted characteristic functions for general optical configurations,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 1263–1269 (1993). See Fig. 1 of that work. The results derived here for modeling interfaces can therefore be expected to couple naturally to the characteristic functions treated in this reference.
  10. This generalization is discussed at Eq. (4.16) of the reference cited in Note 4.
  11. The connection for P is least obvious but follows directly from the geometric interpretations given in Section 3.
  12. Notice from the geometric interpretation that C (ξ, ζ) vanishes only when a ray becomes tangent to the surface z= ζf(x), and this is analogous to rays turning back in Ref. 1. Such cases have been excluded consistently in this series of papers.
  13. Because γ is now a constant, there is no need for the open overdots on Y that were used in Ref. 1. That is, Ẏ=Y̊ when γ is independent of ζ.
  14. Given Eq. (3.10) and the geometric interpretation of C that was presented in the third paragraph of Section 3, the factors in Eq. (5.9) can be seen to correspond to the familiar factors found when a uniform plane wave is incident on a flat interface. Even though this is a scalar field, the results match those of an electromagnetic field when the electric field is normal to the plane of incidence; see T and R of Eqs. (20) and (21) of Subsection 1.5.2 of Ref. 2.
  15. Such matters are treated for the standard models by Y. A. Kravtsov et al., “Theory and applications of complex rays,” in Progress in Optics XXXIX, E. Wolf, ed. (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1999), pp. 1–62.

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