Fourier optics approach to imaging with sub-wavelength resolution through metal-dielectric multilayers

Kotynski R.

Opto-Electronics Review

18(4), 2010, 366–375, 10.2478/s11772-010-0044-5

Metal-dielectric layered stacks for imaging with sub-wavelength resolution are regarded as linear isoplanatic systems — a concept popular in Fourier optics and in scalar diffraction theory. In this context, a layered flat lens is a one-dimensional spatial filter characterised by the point spread function. However, depending on the model of the source, the definition of the point spread function for multilayers with sub-wavelength resolution may be formulated in several ways. Here, a distinction is made between a soft source and hard electric or magnetic sources. Each of these definitions leads to a different meaning of perfect imaging. It is shown that some simple interpretations of the PSF, such as the relation of its width to the resolution of the imaging system are ambiguous for the multilayers with sub-wavelenth resolution. These differences must be observed in point spread function engineering of layered systems with sub-wavelength sized PSF.