Abstract

Based on the generalized Huygens–Fresnel diffraction integral (Collins’ formula), the propagation equation of Hermite–Gauss beams through a complex optical system with a limiting aperture is derived. The elements of the optical system may be all those characterized by an ABCD ray-transfer matrix, as well as any kind of apertures represented by complex transmittance functions. To obtain the analytical expression, we expand the aperture transmittance function into a finite sum of complex Gaussian functions. Thus the limiting aperture is expressed as a superposition of a series of Gaussian-shaped limiting apertures. The advantage of this treatment is that we can treat almost all kinds of apertures in theory. As application, we define the width of the beam and the focal plane using an encircled-energy criterion and calculate the intensity distribution of Hermite–Gauss beams at the actual focus of an aperture lens.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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