Image formation in a collinear holographic storage system was analyzed. The wavefront from each pixel of a spatial light modulator was regarded as a plane wave in the recording medium, and its wave vector was determined by the position of the pixel. The hologram in the recording medium was treated as the summation of all gratings written by all combinations of two plane waves. The image of a data page was formed by diffraction of the reference waves by all gratings. The results of the simulation showed good agreement with experiment. We introduced the pixel spread function to describe the image formation characteristics. Analysis of the pixel spread function reveals that a radial-line pixel pattern for reference waves gave a sharper image than other reference pixel patterns. It is also shown that a random phase modulation applied to each reference pixel improved the image formation.
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