Fourier Transform of Powers of Sinc
Fourier Transforms of One-Dimensional Apertures
Fourier Transforms of Two-Dimensional Apertures

Fourier Transform of Powers of Sinc

The Fourier transform of the cardinal sine is known to be a rectangular function and that of its square a triangular function. This prompts the question of the general form for an arbitrary power of the function, which is not difficult to determine.

Begin with the symmetric Fourier transform

[sincnx ](k) =12π dx eikx sinnx xn

The power of the sine function can be expanded in terms of exponentials with the binomial theorem:

sinnx =( eix -eix 2i )n =1(2i )n p=0 n (1)p (np) ei(n -2p)x

When applying the residue theorem to evaluate the integral, the contour must be completed in the direction that produces a negative value in the exponential when a complex component is added to the variable of integration. That means the contour is completed upwards for n-2p-k>0 and downwards for n-2p-k<0 .

In both cases the residue theorem picks out the term in the expansion of the exponential that is one power of the variable of integration less than the denominator. When the the contour is completed downward there is an additional factor of minus one for the reversed contour, but this can be included with a signum function.

The final complication is that the pole at the origin initially lies on the contour, which must be distorted to avoid it. The contour of integration will then only contain a half path around the pole. Since this could go either above or below the pole, the end result is that the contribution from the pole is only half of that expected.

The result of applying the residue theorem is

[sincnx ](k) =i(2i )n π2 p=0 n (1)p (np) [i(n-2p -k)] n-1 (n-1)! sgn(n-2p -k) =12n (n-1)! π2 p=0 n (1)p (np) (n-2p -k) n-1 sgn(n-2p -k)

This is a somewhat curious result: the total function is a linear combination of n+1 polynomials of degree n-1 . Here is how that looks for the first few powers:

The total function is clearly zero for absk>n . This can be easily understood for the first power, which is

[sincx] =12 π2 [sgn(1-k) +sgn(1+k)]

For absk>1 the two terms have opposite signs and cancel, but in the middle region have the same sign and reinforce. The combinations become progressively more complicated for larger powers. This graphic displays the individual parts of the total function:

A bit bizarre that these sum to a simple-looking curve...

Fourier Transforms of One-Dimensional Apertures

Far away from an array of slits, the intensity generated by an incident plane wave can be described by Fraunhofer diffraction, which is simply the Fourier transform of the physical aperture. Since this model has application in both optics and quantum mechanics, it will be treated as a purely mathematical problem.

For an arbitrary number of slits located at points ap with widths wp , the Fourier transform is rather simple to write in very general form. An incident wave of unit amplitude is only nonzero over the span of each slit. Summing their individual contributions gives

[slits] =12π p ap -wp/2 ap +wp/2 dx ei xx [slits] =12π p eix (ap +wp/2) -eix (ap -wp/2) ix [slits] =12π p ei apx wp sinc(wp2 x)

which is the total value of field or probability along the line of measurement. The intensity of the diffracted wave is given by the absolute square of this total value.

For a single slit, the intensity is a squared cardinal sine

Isingle =w22π sinc2(w2 x)

which looks like this as a function of the width of the slit:

This is the expected diffraction peak with a spread dependent on slit size.

For a pair of slits of equal width located equal distances from the origin, the intensity acquires an extra trigonometric factor

Idouble =w22π sinc2(w2 x) |eiax +eiax |2 Idouble =w22π sinc2(w2 x)× 4cos2ax =4Isingle cos2ax

and look like this as a function of free parameters:

The second slit adds additional structure to the diffraction peak, which will be true for any higher number of slits. Indeed for an array of N slits spaced equally 2a apart, the trigonometric term can be summed with a geometric series,

| p=1N e2ipax |2 =| p=0 N-1 e2ipax |2 =|1 -e2i Nax 1-e2i ax |2 =(sinNax sinax )2

where phase factors under the absolute square are discarded at each step. The intensity of the array of slits is thus

IN =w22π sin2(w2 x)× (sinNax sinax )2 =Isingle (sinNax sinax )2

which is consistent with the result for a double slit. The array of slits produces this modification to the diffraction peak of the single slit:

This graphic includes the option to exclude diffraction in order to see pure interference by itself.

Fourier Transforms of Two-Dimensional Apertures

The two-dimensional Fourier transform of a square aperture is a simple extension of the one-dimensional slit. For a square with sides w, the two-dimensional transform is

[square] =12π w/2 w/2 dx w/2 w/2 dy eixx -yy [square] =12π eix w/2 -eix w/2 ix eiy w/2 -eiy w/2 iy [square] =w2 2π sinc(w2 x) sinc(w2 y)

which is simply the product of two one-dimensional transforms. The intensity for the square aperature is

Isquare =w4 4π2 sinc2(w2 x) sinc2(w2 y)

which apart from the leading multiplicative factor looks like this:

The two-dimensional Fourier transform of a circular aperture is more complicated because the kernel is not separable. For a circle with diamenter w one has

[circle] =12π 0 w/2 rdr 02π dφ eir cosφrcosφ -ir sinφ rsinφ [circle] =0 w/2 rdr 12π dφ eirr cos(φ -φ) [circle] =0 w/2 dr rJ0 (rr) =1r2× w2 rJ1 (w2r)

recognizing one form of the definition of the Bessel function of the first kind in the second step. The relation ddx [xJ1 (x)] =xJ0 (x) can be confirmed with recurrence relations for the Bessel functions. This can be slightly rewritten as

[circle] =w24 J1( w2 r) w2 r

The intensity for a circular aperture is

Icircle =w416 J12( w2 r) (w2 r)2

which again apart from the leading multiplicative factor looks like this:

The fraction of two functions in this expression is an analog of the cardinal sine function.

Uploaded 2020.03.25 — Updated 2020.03.26