An imaging scheme is described that is based on the transmission of image-forming information encoded within optical coherence functions. The scheme makes use of dynamic random-valued encoding–decoding masks placed in the input–output planes of any linear optical system. The mask transmittance functions are complex conjugates of each other, as opposed to a similar coherence encoding scheme proposed earlier by two of this paper’s authors that used identical masks. [ Rhodes and Welch, in Euro-American Workshop on Optoelectronic Information Processing, SPIE Critical Review Series (SPIE, 1999), Vol. CR74, p. 1 ]. General analyses of the two coherence encoding schemes are performed by using the more general mutual coherence function as opposed to the mutual intensity function used in the earlier scheme. The capabilities and limitations of both encoding schemes are discussed by using simple examples that combine the encoding–decoding masks with free-space propagation, passage through a four-f system, and a single-lens imaging system.
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