Abstract

A series-form expression for the individual diffracted field of a general annular ring is derived from the Rayleigh–Sommerfeld diffraction integral. It can be used for the accurate and fast simulation of any diffractive focusing element composed of concentric transparent rings. We present a comprehensive analysis, based on the leading term and the linear superposition principle, of the focusing performances of various Fresnel zone plates. Many problems, such as the equivalent aperture function, the diffraction efficiency, the focal spot pattern, the suppression of higher orders and the appearance of “fractional orders,” and the explanation for the appearance of Fraunhofer diffraction patterns, are analytically investigated in detail. Because of the great similarity between Fresnel zone plates and multilevel diffractive lenses, most of the obtained results are also applicable to multilevel diffractive lenses.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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