Abstract

The Wigner distribution function (WDF) is used to study the propagation of partially coherent beams through optical systems. The width and divergence of multimode beams are defined in terms of moments of the WDF. It is shown that these and other parameters of partially coherent beams of arbitrary form may be calculated using geometrical ray traces. Generalized transformation laws of these beam parameters by an ABCD optical system are obtained. These laws are tested experimentally for multimode beams and thin lenses. The applications of the ray tracing method can be extended to a non-ABCD system with mild aberrations.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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