Continued fractions, one of the earliest examples of which is Lord Brouncker's expression for the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle (see Circle), were elaborately discussed by John Wallis and Leonhard Euler; the convergency of series treated by Newton, Euler and the Bernoullis; the binomial theorem, due originally to Newton and subsequently expanded by Euler and others, was used by Joseph Louis Lagrange as the basis of his Calcul des Fonctions.

When the waves are convergent and the recipient screen is placed so as to contain the centre of convergency - the image of the original radiant point, the calculation assumes a less complicated form.