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This paper presents the theory for controlling the spectral degree of coherence via spatial filtering. Starting with a quasi-homogeneous partially coherent source, the cross-spectral density function of the field at the output of the spatial filter is found by applying Fourier and statistical optics theory. The key relation obtained from this analysis is a closed-form expression for the filter function in terms of the desired output spectral degree of coherence. This theory is verified with Monte Carlo wave-optics simulations of spatial coherence control and beam shaping for potential use in free-space optical communications and directed energy applications. The simulated results are found to be in good agreement with the developed theory. The technique presented in this paper will be useful in applications where coherence control is advantageous, e.g., directed energy, free-space optical communications, remote sensing, medicine, and manufacturing.


The publisher's version of record can be found at MDPI:
Hyde, M. W. (2018). Controlling the Spatial Coherence of an Optical Source Using a Spatial Filter. Applied Sciences, 8(9), 1465.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 4.0 (



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Applied Sciences

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