Propagation of a partially coherent optical beam inside a linear, nondispersive, dielectric medium is studied, taking into account the vector nature of the electromagnetic field. Propagation-induced polarization changes are studied by using the Gaussian–Schell model for the cross-spectral-density tensor. The degree of polarization changes with propagation and also becomes nonuniform across the beam cross section. The extent of these changes depends on the coherence radius associated with the cross-correlation function. For optical beams with symmetric spectra, the bandwidth of the source spectra is found to play a relatively minor role.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
(030.1640) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence
(030.6600) Coherence and statistical optics : Statistical optics
(050.1940) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction
(260.0260) Physical optics : Physical optics
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
Govind P. Agrawal and Emil Wolf, "Propagation-induced polarization changes in partially coherent optical beams," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 2019-2023 (2000)