Abstract

The coherence theory of random, vector-valued optical fields has been of great research interest in recent years. In this work we formulate the foundations of electromagnetic coherence theory both in the space–time and space–frequency domains, with particular emphasis on various types of optical interferometry. Analyzing statistically stationary, two-component (paraxial) electric fields in the classical and quantum-optical contexts we show fundamental connections between the conventional (polarization) Stokes parameters and the associated two-point (coherence) Stokes parameters. Measurement of the coherence and polarization properties of random vector beams by nanoparticle scattering and two-photon absorption is also addressed.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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