Waveguides for short-wavelength x-rays have been successfully employed for microbeam and nanobeam production and microscopy experiments. The coherence of hard x-ray sources is generally poor, and therefore the spatial coherence filtering characteristics of waveguides have been attractive for high-resolution microscopy experiments. To quantify the spatial coherence filtering properties of a waveguide, we here report a theoretical study of the propagation of a partially coherent beam in a waveguide in the paraxial approximation. By propagating the cross-spectral density function associated with the partially coherent field, we quantify in detail the evolution of the spatial coherence as the beam proceeds along the waveguide. The propagation is efficiently accomplished using the communication-modes formalism. The generality of the approach makes it suitable to study more complex phenomena such as the second-order Talbot self-imaging effect and coherence revivals in waveguides. Numerical results are shown for waveguides illuminated by partially coherent hard x-rays.
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