Abstract

It was recently shown that, when a converging spherical wave is focused in a diffraction-limited system of sufficiently low Fresnel numbers, the point of maximum intensity does not coincide with the geometrical focus but is located closer to the exit pupil. In the present paper both qualitative and quantitative arguments are presented that elucidate the modifications that the whole three-dimensional structure of the diffracted field undergoes as the Fresnel number is gradually decreased. Contours of equal intensity in the focal region are presented for systems of selected Fresnel numbers, which focus uniform waves.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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