, Volume 102, Issue 6, pp 918-926

What type of coherence of the optical field is observed in the Michelson interferometer

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The types and corresponding coherence functions of the optical field are considered depending on the frequency and angular spectra of the field. The main concepts of the theory of coherence effects in the interference experiment with the amplitude splitting of the initial field are discussed. It is shown that, in strict correspondence with the theory of coherence of the random wave fields, the Michelson interferometer reveals manifestations of the transverse and longitudinal spatial (rather than temporal, as it is commonly adopted) coherence of the optical field; the purely temporal coherence of the optical field is revealed only under special conditions of the interference experiment. Beyond these conditions, either spatial or spatiotemporal coherence is revealed.

Original Russian Text © V.P. Ryabukho, D.V. Lyakin, V.V. Lychagov, 2007, published in Optika i Spektroskopiya, 2007, Vol. 102, No. 6, pp. 996–1005.