We discuss from the viewpoint of the Strehl ratio versus defocus, or the normalized axial-irradiance distribution, the influence of decentering the dark mask of an annular pupil. Our treatment, which is valid for pupil apertures with any Fresnel number, permits us to infer that the axial behavior of a noncentrally obscured pupil is equivalent to that of an apodizer with continuous amplitude variations. Hence the Strehl ratio versus defocus of an optical system can be shaped by use of noncentered dark masks that act as continuous gray apodizers. Several numerically evaluated examples are presented.
© 1994 Optical Society of America
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