Using rays better. IV. theory for refraction and reflection

G. W. Forbes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


A new ray-based method is extended to include the modeling of optical interfaces. The essential idea is that the wave field and its derivatives are always expressed as a superposition of ray contributions of flexible width. Interfaces can be analyzed in this way by introducing a family of surfaces that smoothly connects them. Even though the ray-to-wave link may appear to be obscured at caustics, the standard Fresnel coefficients (for plane waves at flat interfaces between homogeneous media) are shown to be universally applicable on a ray-by-ray basis. Thus, in the interaction at the interface, the surface’s curvature and any gradients in the refractive indices influence only the higher asymptotic corrections. Further, this method finally gives access to such corrections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2557-2564
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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