It is shown that a highly spatially incoherent light distribution may be
generated from a highly coherent one on propagation in free space. This result
essentially demonstrates that there exists an inverse of a classic result
of optical coherence theory, namely, the van Cittert–Zernike
theorem. The analysis also indicates that the technique of phase conjugation
may be used to reverse changes in the coherence properties of light, at least
those which are generated on propagation in free space.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
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