Abstract

We report design theories of a diffractive superresolution element (DSE) to implement optical superresolution of focused partially spatially coherent laser beams. The design problem of the DSE can be transformed into a problem of linear programming to obtain a globally optimal solution. By using the design theories, some fundamental limits of optical superresolution of focused partially spatially coherent laser beams are proposed, and several design examples are provided. As expected, both the fundamental limits and the design examples show that worse spatial coherence will cause worse superresolution performance. The design theories provide a design approach with partially coherent beams and may be useful for other design problems under partially coherent illumination.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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