Uncertainty products for nonparaxial wave fields

M. A. Alonso, G. W. Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Although maximal localization is a basic notion in the consideration of phase-space representations of fields, it has not yet been pursued for general wave fields. We develop measures of spatial and directional spreads for nonparaxial waves in free space. These measures are invariant under translation and rotation and are shown to reduce to the conventional ones when applied to paraxial fields. The associated uncertainty relation sets limits to joint localization in coordinate and frequency space. This relation provides a basis for the definition of a joint localization measure that is analogous to the beam propagation factor (i.e., M2) of paraxial optics. The results are first developed for two-dimensional fields and then generalized to three dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2391-2402
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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