A speckle pattern formed in polarized monochromatic light may be regarded as resulting from a classical random walk in the complex plane. The resulting irradiance fluctuations obey negative exponential statistics, with ratio of standard deviation to mean (i.e., contrast) of unity. Reduction of this contrast, or smoothing of the speckle, requires diversity in polarization, space, frequency, or time. Addition of M uncorrelated speckle patterns on an intensity basis can reduce the contrast by 1/√M. However, addition of speckle patterns on a complex amplitude basis provides no reduction of contrast. The distribution of scale sizes in a speckle pattern (i.e., the Wiener spectrum) is investigated from a physical point of view.
© 1976 Optical Society of America
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