Abstract

New representations are defined for describing electromagnetic wave fields in free space exactly in terms of rays for any wavelength, level of coherence or polarization, and numerical aperture, as long as there are no evanescent components. These representations correspond to tensors assigned to each ray such that the electric and magnetic energy densities, the Poynting vector, and the polarization properties of the field correspond to simple integrals involving these tensors for the rays that go through the specified point. For partially coherent fields, the ray-based approach provided by the new representations can reduce dramatically the computation times for the physical properties mentioned earlier.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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