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A simple and flexible optical system for generating electromagnetic or vector partially coherent sources or beams is presented. The alternative design controls field amplitude (beam shape), coherence, and polarization using only spatial light modulators. This improvement makes the apparatus simpler to construct and significantly increases the flexibility of vector partially coherent source generators by allowing many different types of sources to be produced without changing the physical setup. The system’s layout and theoretical foundations are thoroughly discussed. The utility and flexibility of the proposed system are demonstrated by producing a vector Schell-model and non-Schell-model source. The experimental results are compared to theoretical predictions to validate the design. Lastly, design aspects, which must be considered when building a vector partially coherent source generator for a specific application, are discussed. Abstract (c) APS.


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 4.0.

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Physical Review Applied

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Optics Commons