The subject is the spectral characteristics of partially coherent light whose spectral degree of coherence satisfies or violates the scaling law in diffraction by a circular aperture. Three kinds of spectral correlations of the incident light are considered. It is shown that no matter whether the partially coherent light satisfies or violates the scaling law, a spectral switch defined as a rapid transition of spectral shifts is always found in the diffraction field. Different spectral correlations of the incident field in the aperture result in different points at which the spectral switch occurs. With an increment in the correlations, the position at which the spectral switch takes place moves toward the point at which the phase of the center frequency component becomes singular for illumination by spatially fully coherent light. For light that satisfies the scaling law, the spectral switch is attributed to the diffraction-induced spectral changes; for partially coherent light that violates the scaling law, the spectral switch is attributed to both the diffraction-induced spectral changes and the correlation-induced spectral changes.
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