Abstract

We construct the coherent-mode representation for fluctuating, statistically stationary electromagnetic fields. The modes are shown to be spatially fully coherent in the sense of a recently introduced spectral degree of electromagnetic coherence. We also prove that the electric cross-spectral density tensor can be rigorously expressed as a correlation tensor averaged over an appropriate ensemble of strictly monochromatic vectorial wave functions. The formalism is demonstrated for partially polarized, partially coherent Gaussian Schell-model beams, but the theory applies to arbitrary random electromagnetic fields and can find applications in radiation and propagation and in inverse problems.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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