## Abstract

We propose systems of orthogonal functions ${q}_{n}$ to represent optical transfer functions (OTF) characterized by including the diffraction-limited OTF as the first basis function ${q}_{0}={\mathrm{OTF}}_{\mathrm{perfect}}$. To this end, we apply a powerful and rigorous theoretical framework based on applying the appropriate change of variables to well-known orthogonal systems. Here we depart from Legendre polynomials for the particular case of rotationally symmetric OTF and from spherical harmonics for the general case. Numerical experiments with different examples show that the number of terms necessary to obtain an accurate linear expansion of the OTF mainly depends on the image quality. In the rotationally symmetric case we obtained a reasonable accuracy with approximately 10 basis functions, but in general, for cases of poor image quality, the number of basis functions may increase and hence affect the efficiency of the method. Other potential applications, such as new image quality metrics are also discussed.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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