Abstract

The subject of virtual rays and its application is introduced, for the first time in this country to our knowledge, as a new method in ray optics. The method of virtual rays uses a representation of the electromagnetic field in terms of a continuum of a special class of rays that do not obey the usual geometrical optics along the entire path of propagation. It yields, in the asymptotic limit as λ → 0, the correct field representation at caustics, shadow, and transition regions, i.e., in which geometrical optics and its extensions, such as the geometrical theory of diffraction, fail. The method of virtual rays is used to solve for the high-frequency diffraction from a perfectly or imperfectly conducting semi-infinite wedge.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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