Zernike expansions of derivatives and Laplacians of the Zernike circle polynomials

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The partial derivatives and Laplacians of the Zernike circle polynomials occur in various places in the literature on computational optics. In a number of cases, the expansion of these derivatives and Laplacians in the circle polynomials are required. For the first-order partial derivatives, analytic results are scattered in the literature, starting as early as 1942 in Nijboer's thesis and continuing until present day, with some emphasis on recursive computation schemes. A brief historic account of these results is given in the present paper. By choosing the unnormalized version of the circle polynomials, with exponential rather than trigonometric azimuthal dependence, and by a proper combination of the two partial derivatives, a concise form of the series expressions emerges. This form is appropriate for the formulation and solution of a model wave-front sensing problem of reconstructing a wave-front on the level of its expansion coefficients from (measurements of the expansion coefficients of) the partial derivatives. It turns out that the least-squares estimation problem arising here decouples per azimuthal order $m$, and per $m$ the generalized inverse solution assumes a concise analytic form, thereby avoiding SVD-decompositions. The preferred version of the circle polynomials, with proper combination of the partial derivatives, also leads to a concise analytic result for the Zernike expansion of the Laplacian of the circle polynomials. From these expansions, the properties of the Laplacian as a mapping from the space of circle polynomials of maximal degree $N$, as required in the study of the Neumann problem associated with the Transport-of-Intensity equation, can be read off within a single glance. Furthermore, the inverse of the Laplacian on this space is shown to have a concise analytic form.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

Volume1404.1766 [math-ph]


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