Abstract

The two-point coherence of an electromagnetic field is represented completely by a 4×4 coherency matrix G that encodes the joint polarization–spatial-field correlations. Here, we describe a systematic sequence of cascaded spatial and polarization projective measurements that are sufficient to tomographically reconstruct G—a task that, to the best of our knowledge, has not yet been realized. Our approach benefits from the correspondence between this reconstruction problem in classical optics and that of quantum state tomography for two-photon states in quantum optics. Identifying G uniquely determines all the measurable correlation characteristics of the field and, thus, lifts ambiguities that arise from reliance on traditional scalar descriptors, especially when the field’s degrees of freedom are correlated or classically entangled.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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