Abstract

Starting with the vector formulation of the Kirchhoff diffraction theory, expressions for the total energy density distribution along the axis are presented without using any of the usual assumptions except the assumption made by Kirchhoff for the boundary conditions of a black screen. To make the Kirchhoff integral compatible with Maxwell’s equations, a line integral around the edge of the aperture is added in the analysis. The consequence of ignoring the contribution of this line integral to the axial field distribution is examined numerically. The focal shift effect is investigated for both aplanatic systems and parabolic mirrors having an arbitrary numerical aperture (NA) and finite value of the Fresnel number. The combined effects of the Fresnel number and NA on the focal shift are evaluated, and the validity of the results is carefully checked by comparing the wavelength with the system dimensions.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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