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Is complete spatial coherence necessary for the generation of highly directional light beams?

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Abstract

An equivalence theorem is formulated that provides conditions under which planar sources of different states of spatial coherence will generate optical fields that have identical far-zone intensity distributions. As an example, a partially coherent source whose linear dimensions are large compared with the correlation length of the light across the source is described that will generate a field whose far-zone intensity distribution is identical with that of a Gaussian laser beam.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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