Abstract

We report on the detailed derivation of the Gauss sums leading to the weighting phase factors in the fractional Talbot effect. In contrast to previous approaches, the derivation is directly based on the two coprime integers p and q that define the fractional Talbot effect so that, using standard techniques from the number theory, the computation is reduced, up to a global phase, to the trivial completion of the exponential of the square of a sum. In addition, it is shown that the Gauss sums can be reduced to only two cases, depending on the parity of integer q. Explicit and simpler expressions for the two forms of the Talbot weighting phases are also provided. The Gauss sums are presented as a discrete Fourier transform pair between quadratic phase sequences showing perfect periodic autocorrelation and a connection with the theory of biunimodular sequences is presented. In addition, the Talbot weighting factors of orders 1/q and 2/q are reduced to a closed form, and the equivalence to existing characterizations of Talbot weighting phases is also discussed. The relationship with one-dimensional multilevel phase structures is exemplified by the study of Talbot array illuminators. These results simplify and extend the description of the role played by Gauss sums in the fractional Talbot effect, providing a compact synthesis of previous results.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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