Abstract

We generalize the traditional concept of temporal optical interferometry to any degree of freedom of a coherent optical field. By identifying the structure of a unitary optical transformation that we designate the generalized phase operator, we enable optical interferometry to be carried out in any modal basis describing a degree of freedom. The structure of the generalized phase operator is that of a fractional optical transform, thus establishing the connection between fractional transforms, optical interferometry, and modal analysis.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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