Abstract

The recently introduced concept of spatial coherence wavelets is generalized to describe the propagation of electromagnetic fields in the free space. For this aim, the spatial coherence wavelet tensor is introduced as an elementary amount, in terms of which the formerly known quantities for this domain can be expressed. It allows for the analysis of the relationship between the spatial coherence properties and the polarization state of the electromagnetic wave. This approach is completely consistent with the recently introduced unified theory of coherence and polarization for random electromagnetic beams, but it provides further insight about the causal relationship between the polarization states at different planes along the propagation path.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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