Abstract

We present a general definition of the radiation efficiency of stationary electromagnetic fields and prove that it is bounded between zero and unity for beams of any state of coherence and polarization. The radiation efficiency may be interpreted as a measure of how directed the radiated fields are, and therefore it can be used to assess the allowed spatial coherence and intensity variations across a beam. We consider a class of partially coherent electromagnetic fields that were recently introduced in the literature and evaluate the radiation efficiencies for two particular examples, namely, the azimuthally polarized symmetric beams and the dipolar beams that are nearly linearly polarized in the central region. The results show that the radiation efficiency is fairly insensitive to the state of polarization and that it differs appreciably from unity for only small values of source and correlation widths.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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