Augmenting Light Field to model Wave Optics effects

Se Baek Oh, George Barbastathis, Ramesh Raskar


The ray-based 4D light field representation cannot be directly used to analyze diffractive or phase--sensitive optical elements. In this paper, we exploit tools from wave optics and extend the light field representation via a novel "light field transform". We introduce a key modification to the ray--based model to support the transform. We insert a "virtual light source", with potentially negative valued radiance for certain emitted rays. We create a look-up table of light field transformers of canonical optical elements. The two key conclusions are that (i) in free space, the 4D light field completely represents wavefront propagation via rays with real (positive as well as negative) valued radiance and (ii) at occluders, a light field composed of light field transformers plus insertion of (ray--based) virtual light sources represents resultant phase and amplitude of wavefronts. For free--space propagation, we analyze different wavefronts and coherence possibilities. For occluders, we show that the light field transform is simply based on a convolution followed by a multiplication operation. This formulation brings powerful concepts from wave optics to computer vision and graphics. We show applications in cubic-phase plate imaging and holographic displays.

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