A simple technique involving the use of a rotating and a stationary diffuser has been developed to vary the spatial coherence of light from a He–Ne laser. Using this technique an experimental investigation of the dependence of rotation sensitivity of Lau fringes on the spatial coherence of the illuminating wavefield has been carried out. It is observed that (i) the rotation sensitivity of Lau fringes varies in a well-defined manner as a function of the spatial coherence of the light used; (ii) the extremely good rotation sensitivity of Lau fringes can be used to great advantage (compared to the conventional double slit method) in the measurement of the spatial coherence of a wavefield; (iii) Lau fringes are formed at various levels of spatial coherence and as such it appears that the Lau effect need not be associated with an incoherent optical field.
© 1989 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 11, 1988
Published: January 15, 1989
Sundergopal Chitralekha, Kodikullam V. Avudainayagam, and Sastry V. Pappu, "Role of spatial coherence on the rotation sensitivity of Lau fringes: an experimental study," Appl. Opt. 28, 345-349 (1989)