Propagation of partially coherent fields


The propagation of light through complex structures, such as biological tissue, is a poorly understood phenomenon. Current practice typically ignores the coherence of the optical field. We use a novel Monte Carlo approach for propagating partially coherent fields through complicated deterministic optical systems. Random sources with arbitrary spatial coherence properties are generated using a Gaussian copula. Physical optics and Monte Carlo predictions of the first and second order statistics of the field are shown for coherent and partially coherent sources for a variety of imaging and non-imaging configurations. Excellent agreement between the physical optics and Monte Carlo predictions has been demonstrated in all cases.

We have developed a Monte Carlo-derived Green's function for the propagation of partially coherent fields. This Green's function, which is derived by sampling Huygens-Fresnel wavelets, can be used to propagate fields through an optical system and to compute first and second order field statistics directly. The concept is illustrated for a cylindrical f/1 imaging system. A Gaussian copula is used to synthesize realizations of a Gaussian-Schell model field in the pupil plane. The animated GIF shows the ensemble intensity for different cross-sections near the focus.

Ultimately, this formalism will be utilized to determine certain properties of a given optical system from measurements of the spatial coherence of the field at an output plane. Although our specific interests lie in biomedical imaging applications, it is expected that this work will find application to important radiometric problems as well.


Scott Prahl