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Topological reactions of correlation functions in partially coherent electromagnetic beams

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Abstract

It was recently shown that so-called coherence vortices, singularities of the two-point correlation function, generally occur in partially coherent electromagnetic beams. We study the three-dimensional structure of these singularities and show that in successive cross sections of a beam a rich variety of topological reactions takes place. These reactions involve, apart from vortices, the creation or annihilation of dipoles, saddles, maxima and minima of the phase of the correlation function. Since these reactions happen generically, i.e., under quite general conditions, these observations have implications for interference experiments with partially coherent, electromagnetic beams.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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