The modal theory for spectrally partially coherent nonstationary plane waves is introduced. The theory is first developed in the space–frequency domain and then extended to the space–time domain. Propagation properties of the coherent modes are analyzed. The concept of the overall degree of coherence is extended to the domain of nonstationary fields, and it is shown that the overall degree of coherence of partially coherent plane-wave pulses is the same in the space–frequency and space–time domains. The theory is applied to the recently introduced concept of spectrally Gaussian Schell-model plane-wave pulses.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 9, 2004
Revised Manuscript: May 11, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: May 11, 2004
Published: November 1, 2004
Hanna Lajunen, Jani Tervo, and Pasi Vahimaa, "Overall coherence and coherent-mode expansion of spectrally partially coherent plane-wave pulses," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 2117-2123 (2004)