The analytical expression for the spectral degree of coherence of partially coherent flat-topped beams propagating through the turbulent atmosphere is derived, and the spatial correlation properties are studied in detail. In particular, we find that the oscillatory behavior and phase singularities of the spectral degree of coherence may appear when partially coherent flat-topped beams propagate through the turbulent atmosphere; this behavior is very different from the behavior of Gaussian Schell-model beams. But the oscillatory behavior becomes weaker with increasing turbulence and even disappears when the turbulence is strong enough. The width of the spectral degree of coherence is always smaller than that of the spectral density in the far field when the turbulence is strong enough, whereas the width of the spectral degree of coherence in free space can be either larger or smaller than that of the spectral density in the far field.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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