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While a planar object is assumed here, the results can readily be extended to three-dimensional objects.
The linearity of the process is proved by applying two pointsource objects and noting that they generate two real (and two virtual) images, and that the relative amplitudes of the images are the same as the relative amplitudes of the objects.
That the imaging process is space invariant when the film records all incident spatial structure is implied by the results of R. F. van Ligten, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1009 (1966).
Note that while Es(x,y) refers to the exposure due to the entire object, Eσ refers to the constant exposure contributed by a single resolution cell on the object. Eσ is, of course, different for different resolution cells; or equivalently, Eσ depends on the image coordinates (α0β0).
This result follows directly from the Fresnel-Kirchhoff diffraction formula, as found, for example, in M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon Press, Inc., New York, 1964), 2d ed., p. 340.
Ref. 14, Sec. 7–3.
Ref. 14, Sec. 7–4.
An analogous result is known in the theory of optical heterodyne detection. If a strong local oscillator drives a detector well above its sensitivity threshold, the signal-to-noise ratio is limited solely by the quantum efficiency of the detector and the number of signal photons incident per resolution period.
This restriction is a necessary (but in general not sufficient) condition if the incident spatial structure is to be fully recorded.
D. Middleton, Introduction to Statistical Communication Theory (McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1960), p. 356.