Abstract

We introduce the degree of paraxiality as a paraxiality measure of a monochromatic light beam. Computation of this parameter is possible once the plane-wave spectrum of the field being analyzed is given for a starting source plane. On the basis of this definition, quantitative comparisons of the paraxiality of different types of fields are possible. In addition, the recently introduced paraxial estimator [Opt. Lett. 32, 927 (2007)] is identified as the limiting case of the degree of paraxiality.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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