Abstract

Mean-square coherent light is defined as light that is able to interfere with fringes of unit visibility when its electromagnetic field is multiplied by appropriate nonsingular deterministic Jones matrices. It includes light that satisfies the factorization condition at order one and partially polarized light that leads to interference fringes of unit visibility. A necessary and sufficient experimentally measurable condition to determine if two electromagnetic fields are mean-square coherent is established. Furthermore, different properties of partially polarized mean-square coherent light are discussed, such as its relation to the factorization condition and its evolution with propagation.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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