Near-field diffraction patterns are merely aberrated Fraunhofer diffraction patterns. These aberrations, inherent to the diffraction process, provide insight and understanding into wide-angle diffraction phenomena. Nonparaxial patterns of diffracted orders produced by a laser beam passing through a grating and projected upon a plane screen exhibit severe distortion (W 311). This distortion is an artifact of the configuration chosen to observe diffraction patterns. Grating behavior expressed in terms of the direction cosines of the propagation vectors of the incident and diffracted orders exhibits no distortion. Use of a simple direction cosine diagram provides an elegant way to deal with nonparaxial diffraction patterns, particularly when large obliquely incident beams produce conical diffraction.
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