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
Original Manuscript: March 16, 2004
Revised Manuscript: May 14, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: May 14, 2004
Published: November 1, 2004
Jacob Rubinstein and Gershon Wolansky, "A variational principle in optics," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 2164-2172 (2004)