Abstract

This paper is devoted to the exposition of operator algebraic methods that can be usefully applied to many areas of physical optics. These methods exploit the structural similarity between physical optics and quantum mechanics and make use of operator techniques widely used in quantum theory. We develop the basic approach here and illustrate its power by giving a compact derivation of the Fourier properties and the imaging properties of an ideal lens. We also use the operator approach to introduce and discuss operators and fields that are unaltered by passage through an optical system.

© 1981 Optical Society of America

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