Abstract

The origin of low-coherence enhanced backscattering (EBS) of light in random media when the spatial coherence length of illumination is much smaller than the transport mean free path has been poorly understood. We report that in weakly scattering discrete random media low-coherence EBS originates from time-reversed paths of double scattering. Low spatial coherence illumination dephases the time-reversed waves outside its finite coherence area, which isolates the minimal number of scattering events in EBS from higher-order scattering. Moreover, we show the first experimental evidence that the minimal number of scattering events in EBS is double scattering, which has been hypothesized since the first observation of EBS.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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