Abstract

The method of virtual rays has been known for over three decades, and recent interest in the method has arisen in the context of diffraction theory. This method is based on postulates for which no rigorous physical explanation is provided. We show that the method of virtual rays can be derived rigorously from the path-integral formalism pioneered by Feynman in the context of quantum mechanics. The free-space and perfectly conducting wedge Green’s functions used in the virtual ray method are derived from the path-integral Aharonov–Bohm propagators. Physical interpretations of the mathematical steps in the analysis are provided throughout.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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