Abstract

A theory of open laser resonators is formulated within the framework of the electromagnetic coherence theory. It is shown that if only one Fox–Li mode contributes to the field at a given frequency, then the field at that frequency is necessarily completely coherent in view of the space–frequency counterpart of the recently introduced degree of coherence of electromagnetic fields [Opt. Express 11, 1137 (2003)]. It is also shown that the relation between the number of Fox–Li modes and the new degree of coherence is analogous to the relation established in the scalar theory of laser resonator modes. Difficulties that arise with the formerly introduced visibility-based definition of the electromagnetic degree of coherence are briefly discussed.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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