Abstract

General first-order optical systems—represented by a four-dimensional real symplectic group—can be realized using thin lenses and free propagation transformations. It is shown that such systems can be realized using four units of free propagation transformation and nine thin rotated cylindrical lenses (or equivalently, four thin rotated astigmatic lenses and a thin rotated cylindrical lens). If these nine thin lenses placed in five transverse planes can be realized using spatial light modulators (SLMs), then our gadget realizes any general first-order optical system using five SLMs. It is also outlined that any general first-order optical system with finite symplectic matrix entries can always be realized using at least any one of the identities presented here, when a particular decomposition demands thin lenses with impractical focal length.

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