The complex spectral degree of coherence of a general random, statistically stationary electromagnetic field is introduced in a manner similar to the way it is defined for a beamlike field, namely, by means of Young’s interference experiment. Both its modulus and its phase are measurable. We illustrate the definition by applying it to blackbody radiation emerging from a cavity. The results are of particular interest for near-field optics.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
(030.1640) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence
(030.6600) Coherence and statistical optics : Statistical optics
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(260.3160) Physical optics : Interference
Olga Korotkova and Emil Wolf, "Spectral degree of coherence of a random three-dimensional electromagnetic field," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 2382-2385 (2004)