Abstract

This work presents a linear algebraic theory of partial coherence for optical fields of continuous variables. This approach facilitates use of linear algebraic techniques and makes it possible to precisely define the concepts of incoherence and coherence in a mathematical way. We have proposed five scalar measures for the degree of partial coherence. These measures are zero for incoherent fields, unity for fully coherent fields, and between zero and one for partially coherent fields.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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