The off-axis and on-axis spectra in the far zone of an aperture for the case in which a particular class of partially coherent light with a broad spectrum is diffracted by an aperture are studied. It is shown that the spectrum in the far zone is generally different from that at the aperture; i.e., the spectrum is split into two or more peaks. Moreover, the spectrum varies with the diffractive angle. For a fixed diffractive angle, the spectral shift, defined as the difference between the frequencies at which the observed spectrum and the spectrum at the aperture take their maximum, shows a gradual change with the change in the coherence at the aperture. However, as the coherence reaches some critical values, the spectral shift exhibits a rapid transition; i.e., spectral switch occurs. The coherence that causes the spectral switch to take place is different for different diffractive angles. Therefore we propose a new kind of 1×<i>N</i> spectral switch, where <i>N</i> detectors (output ports) are placed at different diffractive angles in the far zone, and the spectral shifts at different detectors are measured. By adjusting the coherence of the aperture (input port) to the desired values, we obtain a rapid transition of the spectral shift in the desired output ports.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
Jixiong Pu and Shojiro Nemoto, "Spectral changes and 1XN spectral switches in the diffraction of partially coherent light by an aperture," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 339-344 (2002)