Phase-space distributions for high-frequency fields

M. A. Alonso, G. W. Forbes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The Wigner distribution function and various windowed Fourier transforms are examples of phase-space distributions that are used, among other things, to formalize the link between ray and wave optics. It is well known that, in the limit of high frequencies, these distributions become localized for simple wave fields and therefore that the localization can be used to define the associated ray families. This localized form is characterized here for both the Wigner distribution function and a Gaussian windowed Fourier transform. Aside from the greater understanding of the distributions themselves, these results promise a clearer intuition of phase-space-based methods for optical modeling. In particular, regardless of the context, the geometric construction that is presented for estimating the Wigner distribution function gives a valuable appreciation of its highly structured and sometimes surprising form.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2288-2300
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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