The properties of the amplitude and illuminance of the images of coherently illuminated diffuse objects are studied. Uniform and nonuniform objects are considered. The image illuminance is considered to result from a linear transformation of a nonstationary gaussian stochastic process followed by a square-law detection. Expressions are obtained for the mean, autocorrelation, variance, and spatial power spectral density of the amplitude and of the illuminance. Interpretation of the results led to conclusions concerning the speckle size, the noise power in the image, and the transfer function of an optical system when the object diffuses coherent light. When the autocorrelation width of the random fluctuations of the object amplitude is small compared to the impulse response of the system, the mean illuminance in the image plane is that which would be given by an incoherent object having the same luminance as the object considered; the average speckle size is equal to that of the impulse response of the system; the average transfer function of the system is the incoherent transfer function; and the distribution of the noise spatial frequencies does not depend upon the form of the signal, but only upon its total energy. Other results concerning the image statistics have also been obtained.
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