Restricted characteristic functions tor general optical configurations

G. W. Forbes, Bryan D. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Hamilton’s six-variable characteristic functions are unwieldy for many practical applications. However, the desired optical characterization can often be given in the form of a simpler, restricted characteristic function of four variables. It is shown here that, as conventionally defined, these four-variable characteristics are incomplete for general analyses: They must be supplemented by information about ray sense. In fact, the functional form of each of the point, mixed, and angle characteristics is shown to involve the ray sense explicitly. The characterization of a homogeneous region is studied in detail to provide the foundation for a Hamiltonian analysis of generally configured systems of mirrors and homogeneous lenses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1269
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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