The analytical properties and computational implications of the Gabor representation are investigated within the context of aperture theory. The radiation field in the pertinent half-space is represented by a discrete set of linearly shifted and spatially rotated elementary beams that fall into two distinct categories, the propagating (characterized by real rotation angles) and evanescent beams. The representation may be considered a generalization in the sense that both the classical plane wave and Kirchhoff’s spatial-convolution forms are directly recoverable as limiting cases. The choice of a specific window function [w(x)] and the corresponding characteristic width (L) are, expectedly, cardinal decisions affecting the analytical complexity and the convergence rate of the Gabor series. The significant spectral compression achievable by an appropriate selection of w(x) and L is demonstrated numerically, and simple selection guidelines are derived. Two specific window functions possessing opposite characteristics are considered, the uniformly pulsed and the Gaussian distributions. These are studied analytically and numerically, highlighting several outstanding advantages of the latter. Consequently, the primary attention is focused on Gaussian elementary beams in their paraxial and their far-field estimates. Although the main effort is devoted to aperture analysis, demonstrating the advantages and limitations of the proposed approach, reference is also made to its potential when applied to aperture-synthesis and spatial-filtering problems. The quantitative effects of basic filtering in the discrete Gabor space are depicted.
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