Abstract

We demonstrate a simple and robust method for characterizing the temporal coherence of statistically stationary optical sources by using dynamic light scattering. Measurement of the contrast of the fluctuating speckle pattern produced by two counterpropagating beams incident on a scattering medium is used to evaluate their mutual coherence. Important features of this method are high statistical accuracy, the ability to compensate for imperfect spatial coherence, and the possibility of characterizing milliwatt-level optical beams with a wide range of spectral widths. As an example, the squared magnitude of the field autocorrelation function for light emitted by a broadband argon-ion laser is obtained.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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