The properties of a pencil of light as defined approximately in the geometric optics ray tracing method are investigated. The vector Kirchhoff integral is utilized to accurately compute the electromagnetic near field in and around the pencil of light with various beam base sizes, shapes, propagation directions and medium refractive indices. If a pencil of light has geometric mean cross section size of the order p times the wavelength, it can propagate independently to a distance p2 times the wavelength, where most of the beam energy diffuses out of the beam region. This is consistent with a statement that van de Hulst made in a classical text on light scattering. The electromagnetic near fields in the pencil of light are not uniform, have complicated patterns within short distances from the beam base, and the fields tend to converge to Fraunhofer diffraction fields far away from the base.
- 0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle And Plasma Physics