Abstract

A simple microdensitometer system is analyzed using the principles and analytical techniques of the theory of partial coherence. A specification of the physical conditions under which the instrument is linear is obtained, for incoherent illumination. The illuminating mutual intensity is then generalized, by the Van Cittert–Zernike theorem, and conditions on the partial coherence of the preslit illumination necessary for effective incoherence are determined. The new conditions determine a mode of linear operation for the microdensitometer for which an optical transfer function may be unambiguously defined.

© 1972 Optical Society of America

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