Abstract

The radiometric theory of spatial coherence is presented with special attention to the validity of the approximations on which it is based. A new definition of the transverse coherence area is introduced and shown to be in general agreement with earlier definitions. In free-space propagation the product of the transverse coherence area and the intensity is shown to be constant along rectilinear rays, and, for radiation from uniform Lambert sources, a well-known paraxial formula for the transverse coherence area is extended to the extraparaxial domain. A decrease of the spatial coherence in free-space propagation takes place in regions with an increase of the intensity. For imaging systems this occurs in a finite part of image space whenever a real image of a diffusely radiating, extended object is formed at a finite distance.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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