Abstract

Zernike polynomials are commonly used to represent the wavefront phase on circular optical apertures, since they form a complete and orthonormal basis on the unit disk. In [Opt. Lett. 32, 74 (2007) [CrossRef]  ] we introduced a new Zernike basis for elliptic and annular optical apertures based on an appropriate diffeomorphism between the unit disk and the ellipse and the annulus. Here, we present a generalization of this Zernike basis for a variety of important optical apertures, paying special attention to polygons and the polygonal facets present in segmented mirror telescopes. On the contrary to ad hoc solutions, most of them based on the Gram–Smith orthonormalization method, here we consider a piecewise diffeomorphism that transforms the unit disk into the polygon under consideration. We use this mapping to define a Zernike-like orthonormal system over the polygon. We also consider ensembles of polygonal facets that are essential in the design of segmented mirror telescopes. This generalization, based on in-plane warping of the basis functions, provides a unique solution, and what is more important, it guarantees a reasonable level of invariance of the mathematical properties and the physical meaning of the initial basis functions. Both the general form and the explicit expressions for a typical example of telescope optical aperture are provided.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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