The recently introduced concept of a synthetic acousto-optic hologram [ J. Appl. Phys. 67, 49 ( 1990)] is applied to convert a Gaussian laser beam into a partially coherent anisotropic Gaussian Schell-model (AGSM) beam. Real-time reconfigurability of the coherence properties is achieved by this technique, which features scattering of the laser beam by an electronically synthesized, digitally phase-modulated volume grating that propagates in an acousto-optic Bragg cell. The coherence and intensity distributions of the fields obtained by different types of phase modulation are investigated theoretically. We demonstrate some particularly interesting AGSM sources and fields: a secondary elliptical AGSM source with a circularly symmetric far-field intensity distribution and an AGSM field that retains the eccentricity of its intensity profile in the propagation through any centrosymmetric (paraxial) optical system.
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