Abstract

Giving a new physical interpretation to the principle of longitudinal coherence control, we propose an improved method for synthesizing a spatial coherence function along the longitudinal axis of light propagation. By controlling the irradiance of an extended quasi-monochromatic spatially incoherent source with a spatial light modulator, we generated a special optical field that exhibits high coherence selectively for a specific pair of points at specified locations along the axis of beam propagation. This function of longitudinal coherence control provides new possibilities for dispersion-free measurements in optical tomography and profilometry. A quantitative experimental proof of principle is presented.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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