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Appl Opt. 1998 Jun 10;37(17):3612-22.

Scalar and electromagnetic diffraction point-spread functions.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Bergen, N-5007 Bergen, Norway.


We describe an accurate technique for computing the diffraction point-spread function for optical systems. The approach is based on the combined method of ray tracing and diffraction, which implies that the computation is accomplished in a two-step procedure. First, ray tracing is employed to compute the wave-front error in a reference plane on the image side of the system and to determine the shape of the vignetted pupil. Next the Rayleigh-Sommerfeld diffraction theory, combined with the Kirchhoff approximation and the Stamnes-Spjelkavik-Pedersen method for numerical integration, is applied to compute the field in the region of the image. The method does not rely on small-angle approximations and works well for a pupil of general shape. Both scalar and electromagnetic computations are discussed and numerical results are presented.

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