The concept of a partially coherent nonparaxial beam is proposed. A closed-form expression for the propagation of nonparaxial Gaussian Schell model (GSM) beams in free space is derived and applied to study the propagation properties of nonparaxial GSM beams. It is shown that for partially coherent nonparaxial beams a new parameter has to be introduced, which together with the parameter , determines the beam nonparaxiality.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
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