Fundamentals of Scalar Diffraction Theory

The course on Fundamentals of Scalar Theory of Diffraction is a complement of the cardinal courses on Electromagnetic Optics and Fundamentals of Imaging Optics.

It faces the scalar formulation for wave propagation starting  from the superposition of spherical wavelets  in the Huyghens Principle to build the Kirchhoff –Fresnel Integral for the light propagation in vacuum. The basic principle of a simple lens will be introduced, to show the origin of its imaging properties, as well as of aberrations.

The long experience of the teacher in Electron Microscopy will add a short trip in the imaging properties of matter waves, for which the same mathematics of the scalar theory apply, but not those of electromagnetics.


  • Scalar formulation of the Huyghens Principle
  • The Kirchhoff-Fresnel Integral and the paraxial approximation
  • A thin lens.  Imaging.
  • Finite aperture and  resolution
  • Aberrations
  • Matter waves and non-optical wave imaging

resolution and aperture