Abstract

We assess the degree of coherence of vectorial electromagnetic fields in the space–frequency domain as the distance between the cross-spectral density matrix and the identity matrix representing completely incoherent light. This definition is compared with previous approaches. It is shown that this distance provides an upper bound for the degree of coherence and visibility for any pair of scalar waves obtained by linear combinations of the original fields. This same approach emerges when applying a previous definition of global coherence to a Young interferometer.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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