Advanced technological developments have stimulated renewed interest in volume holography for applications such as information storage and wavelength multiplexing for communications and laser beam shaping. In these and many other applications, the information-carrying wave fronts usually possess narrow spatial-frequency bands, although they may propagate at large angles with respect to each other or a preferred optical axis. Conventional analytic methods are not capable of properly analyzing the optical architectures involved. For mitigation of the analytic difficulties, a novel approximation is introduced to treat narrow spatial-frequency band wave fronts propagating at large angles. This approximation is incorporated into the analysis of volume holography based on a plane-wave decomposition and Fourier analysis. As a result of the analysis, the recently introduced generalized Bragg selectivity is rederived for this more general case and is shown to provide enhanced performance for the above indicated applications. The power of the new theoretical description is demonstrated with the help of specific examples and computer simulations. The simulations reveal some interesting effects, such as coherent motion blur, that were predicted in an earlier publication.
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