We derive a new variational principle in optics. We first formulate the principle for paraxial waves and then generalize it to arbitrary waves. The new principle, unlike the Fermat principle, concerns both the phase and the intensity of the wave. In particular, the principle provides a method for finding the ray mapping between two surfaces in space from information on the wave’s intensity there. We show how to apply the new principle to the problem of phase reconstruction from intensity measurements.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Jacob Rubinstein and Gershon Wolansky, "A variational principle in optics," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 2164-2172 (2004)