Abstract

A unified theory for the optical transfer function (OTF) is presented. The method permits the factoring of light-scattering effects out of the overall value, which also involves diffraction and aberration. OTF’s of multicomponent systems are evaluated for all cases, including those in which the conditions for the multiplication of individual OTF’s are not met. The formalism treats afocal and imaging systems on the same level. The Wigner distribution function is used to show that in most cases the OTF may be calculated from ray traces without losing the accuracy of wave theory.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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