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Acta Ophthalmol Suppl. 1991;(199):1-43.

3D grating optics of human vision.

Erratum in

  • Acta Ophthalmol Suppl 1991;(203):40.


The approximately 6-7 layers of closestpacked photoreceptor cell bodies in the outer nuclear layer of the human retina are interpreted as hexagonal multilayer phase or three-dimensional gratings with refractive index differences between the cell nucleus and the cytoplasm. A multilayer 3D grating of this type allows incident light to be processed by Fresnel interference in the plane of focus of the geometrical-optical system of the human eye, forming triplets of chromatic interference maxima made available, at discrete concentric locations, to the outer segments of the cones and rods for further processing. Transformation of the 3D grating spacing (in the sense of a stimulus-adaptive optic) into the dimensional periodicity of the spectral stimulus which is processed with maximum amplitude in the 111 color channel gives three chromatic signals at 559/537/447 nm in the visible 'spectral window', i.e. at spectral locations which match the 3 wavelengths of (photochemically determined) maximum spectral sensitivity in photopic vision. Variation of the cell geometry in the 3D grating gives rise to the Purkinje shift with fusion of the RED-GREEN diffraction orders at 512 nm. Color proves mathematically to be the product (varied by the diffraction order triplets) of the speed of light and the three-dimensional geometry. The chemistry of the photoreceptors, i.e. the programming of the visual pigments, would consequently be based on 3D grating optics. The human eye would process trichromatic Fourier signals, not geometrical-optical images. The first stage of color vision would be based on 3D grating optics, without the involvement of neuronal networks. New interpretations ensue for color constancy, color adaptation, color visual field, inter alia. The eye, as a trichromatic Fresneloptical modulator of the information present in the amplitude, phase and frequency of the processed light, receives considerably more information on perceived objects than it passes on to the brain. Cellular 3D gratings may also be models for the interference of acoustic, chemical and other waves in cortical processing centers.

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