Abstract

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.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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