We propose a method to narrow the gap between the rigorous methods for the propagation of partially coherent light, which require excessive computational capacity, and the numerical methods used in practical engineering applications, where it is not clear how to handle spatial and temporal coherence in a statistically correct manner. As is the case for the latter methods, the numerical method described can deal with fields with a large spatial and temporal extent, which is necessary in practical applications such as laser fusion or optical lithography. However, the method also takes a few steps toward a more rigorous, yet efficient, representation of the optical field, which depends on detailed specified coherence properties of the radiation. The described method uses a set of independent monochromatic fields at different oscillation frequencies. The frequencies are chosen such that the statistical properties of the integrated intensity closely resemble those from a full-time trace treatment. Finally, we demonstrate the capabilities and limitations of the method with a few numerical examples of the propagation of a large field with a specified spatial and temporal coherence.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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