The Fresnel diffraction formula is straightforwardly obtained by solving a partial differential equation (PDE) for envelope propagation using Fourier transform techniques. The PDE, in turn, can be derived from the dispersion relation of a linear medium by employing a simple operator formalism. The transfer function and impulse response of propagation follows as a spin‐off and is used to solve illustrative problems. Huygens’ principle is visualized as a consequence of the convolution property of linear systems.
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