Abstract

The formulation of the theory of spatial (monochromatic) coherence is reviewed, together with some of the more immediate applications. These include the conditions for effectively coherent and incoherent illumination, the theory of stellar interferometry, and the interference microscope.

A general treatment of the influence of the size of source on the visibility of the fringes in two-beam interferometers is given, together with applications. The use of coherence theory in microscopy is then summarized, and the influence of the numerical aperture of the illuminator is illustrated in special cases. These include the images of two close point apertures, a narrow slit, and a periodic structure. It is shown how the concept of an “effective source” facilitates the study of the influence of aberrations under different conditions of coherence.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the theory of chromatic coherence.

© 1957 Optical Society of America

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