Abstract

There exists a fractional Fourier-transform relation between the amplitude distributions of light on two spherical surfaces of given radii and separation. The propagation of light can be viewed as a process of continual fractional Fourier transformation. As light propagates, its amplitude distribution evolves through fractional transforms of increasing order. This result allows us to pose the fractional Fourier transform as a tool for analyzing and describing optical systems composed of an arbitrary sequence of thin lenses and sections of free space and to arrive at a general class of fractional Fourier-transforming systems with variable input and output scale factors.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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