Using rays better. IV. theory for refraction and reflection

G. W. Forbes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 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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