The Fourier transform of a coherent optical image can be evaluated physically by use of a single lens plus free-space propagation, thereby providing the basis for the field of Fourier optics. I point out that one can similarly evaluate the discrete Fourier transform of a sampled or pixelated optical array physically by passing the discrete array amplitudes through a network of single-mode fibers or optical waveguides. A passive optical network that evaluates the fast Fourier transform of a coherent array can be fabricated by use of (<i>N</i>/2)log<sub>2</sub>[<i>N</i>] optical 3-dB couplers plus small added phase shifts. Implementing such networks in fiber or integrated optical form could provide the basis for a possible technology of fiber Fourier optics.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(060.2310) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics
(070.2580) Fourier optics and signal processing : Paraxial wave optics
(070.2590) Fourier optics and signal processing : ABCD transforms
A. E. Siegman, "Fiber Fourier optics," Opt. Lett. 26, 1215-1217 (2001)