An analytical formula for the cross-spectral density matrix of the electric field of anisotropic electromagnetic Gaussian–Schell model beams propagating in free space is derived by using a tensor method. The effects of coherence on those beams are studied. It is shown that two anisotropic stochastic electromagnetic beams that propagate from the source plane into the half-space may have different beam shapes (i.e., spectral density) and states of polarization in the half-space, even though they have the same beam shape and states of polarization in the source plane. This fact is due to a difference in the coherence properties of the field in the source plane.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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