A representation of the general solution of the Maxwell equations is proposed in terms of the plane-wave spectrum of the electromagnetic field. In this representation the electric field solution is written as a sum of two terms that are orthogonal to each other at the far field: One is transverse to the propagation axis, and the magnetic field associated with the other is also transverse. The concept of the so-called closest field to a given beam is introduced and applied to the well-known linearly polarized Gaussian beam.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
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