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Appl Opt. 2010 Jun 1;49(16):D69-95. doi: 10.1364/AO.49.000D69.

Theory of sixth-order wave aberrations.

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  • 1College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.

Erratum in

  • Appl Opt. 2010 Nov 20;49(33):6502-3.


A sixth-order theory of wave aberrations for axially symmetric systems is developed. Specific formulas for the sixth-order extrinsic and intrinsic wave aberration coefficients are given, as well as relations between pupil and image aberrations. Equations are developed for the wavefront propagation to the sixth order of approximation. The concept of the irradiance function is developed, and the second-order irradiance coefficients are found via conservation of flux at the pupils of the optical system and in terms of pupil aberrations. From purely geometrical considerations a generalized irradiance transport equation that describes irradiance changes in an optical system is derived. Confirming the aberration coefficients with real ray-tracing data was found to be indispensable.

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