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# 6/27/2016

Coherence(physics)Wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Coherence(physics)
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Inphysics,twowavesourcesareperfectlycoherentiftheyhaveaconstantphasedifferenceandthesame
frequency.Itisanidealpropertyofwavesthatenablesstationary(i.e.temporallyandspatiallyconstant)
interference.Itcontainsseveraldistinctconcepts,whicharelimitingcasesthatneverquiteoccurinrealitybut
allowanunderstandingofthephysicsofwaves,andhasbecomeaveryimportantconceptinquantumphysics.
Moregenerally,coherencedescribesallpropertiesofthecorrelationbetweenphysicalquantitiesofasinglewave,
orbetweenseveralwavesorwavepackets.
complicatedornotremarkable.
interference)orsubtractfromeachothertocreateawaveoflesseramplitudethaneitherone(destructive
interference),dependingontheirrelativephase.Twowavesaresaidtobecoherentiftheyhaveaconstantrelative
theinterferencefringesrelativetotheinputwaves(asthephaseoffsetisvaried)aprecisemathematicaldefinition
ofthedegreeofcoherenceisgivenbymeansofcorrelationfunctions.
Spatialcoherencedescribesthecorrelation(orpredictablerelationship)betweenwavesatdifferentpointsinspace,
eitherlateralorlongitudinal.[1]Temporalcoherencedescribesthecorrelationbetweenwavesobservedatdifferent
momentsintime.BothareobservedintheMichelsonMorleyexperimentandYoung'sinterferenceexperiment.
OncethefringesareobtainedintheMichelsonMorleyexperiment,whenoneofthemirrorsismovedaway
temporalcoherence.Similarly,ifinYoung'sdoubleslitexperimentthespacebetweenthetwoslitsisincreased,the

Contents
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Introduction
Mathematicaldefinition
Coherenceandcorrelation
Examplesofwavelikestates
Temporalcoherence
5.1 Therelationshipbetweencoherencetimeandbandwidth
5.2 Examplesoftemporalcoherence
5.3 Measurementoftemporalcoherence
6 Spatialcoherence
6.1 Examplesofspatialcoherence
7 Spectralcoherence
7.1 Measurementofspectralcoherence
8 Polarizationandcoherence
9 Applications
9.1 Holography
9.2 Nonopticalwavefields
10 Quantumcoherence
11 Seealso
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(physics)

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Coherence(physics)Wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

11 Seealso
12 References

Introduction
CoherencewasoriginallyconceivedinconnectionwithThomasYoung'sdoubleslitexperimentinopticsbutis
nowusedinanyfieldthatinvolveswaves,suchasacoustics,electricalengineering,neuroscience,andquantum
mechanics.Thepropertyofcoherenceisthebasisforcommercialapplicationssuchasholography,theSagnac

Mathematicaldefinition
Aprecisedefinitionisgivenatdegreeofcoherence.
Thecoherencefunctionbetweentwosignals

and

isdefinedas[2]

where
isthecrossspectraldensityofthesignaland
and
arethepowerspectraldensity
functionsof
and
,respectively.Thecrossspectraldensityandthepowerspectraldensityaredefinedas
theFouriertransformsofthecrosscorrelationandtheautocorrelationsignals,respectively.Forinstance,ifthe
signalsarefunctionsoftime,thecrosscorrelationisameasureofthesimilarityofthetwosignalsasafunctionof
thetimelagrelativetoeachotherandtheautocorrelationisameasureofthesimilarityofeachsignalwithitselfin
differentinstantsoftime.Inthiscasethecoherenceisafunctionoffrequency.Analogously,if
and
are
functionsofspace,thecrosscorrelationmeasuresthesimilarityoftwosignalsindifferentpointsinspaceandthe
autocorrelationsthesimilarityofthesignalrelativetoitselfforacertainseparationdistance.Inthatcase,
coherenceisafunctionofwavenumber(spatialfrequency).
Thecoherencevariesintheinterval
.If
itmeansthatthesignalsareperfectly
correlatedorlinearlyrelatedandif
theyaretotallyuncorrelated.Ifalinearsystemisbeingmeasured,
beingtheinputand
theoutput,thecoherencefunctionwillbeunitaryalloverthespectrum.However,if
nonlinearitiesarepresentinthesystemthecoherencewillvaryinthelimitgivenabove.

Coherenceandcorrelation
Thecoherenceoftwowavesexpresseshowwellcorrelatedthewavesareasquantifiedbythecrosscorrelation
function.[3][4][5][6][7]Thecrosscorrelationquantifiestheabilitytopredictthephaseofthesecondwaveby
knowingthephaseofthefirst.Asanexample,considertwowavesperfectlycorrelatedforalltimes.Atanytime,
phasedifferencewillbeconstant.If,whencombined,theyexhibitperfectconstructiveinterference,perfect
destructiveinterference,orsomethinginbetweenbutwithconstantphasedifference,thenitfollowsthattheyare
perfectlycoherent.Aswillbediscussedbelow,thesecondwaveneednotbeaseparateentity.Itcouldbethefirst
(sometimescalledselfcoherence).Degreeofcorrelationinvolvescorrelationfunctions.[8]:545550
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(physics)

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Coherence(physics)Wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Examplesofwavelikestates
Thesestatesareunifiedbythefactthattheirbehaviorisdescribedbyawaveequationorsomegeneralization
thereof.
Surfacewavesinaliquid
Electromagneticsignals(fields)intransmissionlines
Sound
Lightwaves(optics)
Electrons,atomsandanyotherobject(suchasabaseball),asdescribedbyquantumphysics
Inmostofthesesystems,onecanmeasurethewavedirectly.Consequently,itscorrelationwithanotherwavecan
simplybecalculated.However,inopticsonecannotmeasuretheelectricfielddirectlyasitoscillatesmuchfaster
coherencewhichwillbeintroducedbelowweredevelopedinthefieldofopticsandthenusedinotherfields.
Therefore,manyofthestandardmeasurementsofcoherenceareindirectmeasurements,eveninfieldswherethe
wavecanbemeasureddirectly.

Temporalcoherence
Temporalcoherenceisthemeasureof
theaveragecorrelationbetweenthe
valueofawaveanditselfdelayedby,
atanypairoftimes.Temporal
coherencetellsushowmonochromatic
asourceis.Inotherwords,it
characterizeshowwellawavecan
Thedelayoverwhichthephaseor
amplitudewandersbyasignificant
amount(andhencethecorrelation
decreasesbysignificantamount)is
definedasthecoherencetimec.Ata

Figure1:Theamplitudeofasinglefrequencywaveasafunctionoftimet
(red)andacopyofthesamewavedelayedby(blue).Thecoherencetimeof
thewaveisinfinitesinceitisperfectlycorrelatedwithitselfforalldelays
. [10]:118

delayof=0thedegreeofcoherenceis
perfect,whereasitdropssignificantly
asthedelaypasses=c.Thecoherence
lengthLcisdefinedasthedistancethe
wavetravelsintimec.[8]:560,571573
Oneshouldbecarefulnottoconfuse
thecoherencetimewiththetime
durationofthesignal,northe
coherencelengthwiththecoherence
area(seebelow).

Figure2:Theamplitudeofawavewhosephasedriftssignificantlyintimec
asafunctionoftimet(red)andacopyofthesamewavedelayedby
2c(green).Atanyparticulartimetthewavecaninterfereperfectlywithits
delayedcopy.But,sincehalfthetimetheredandgreenwavesareinphase
andhalfthetimeoutofphase,whenaveragedovertanyinterference
disappearsatthisdelay.

Therelationshipbetween
coherencetimeandbandwidth
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(physics)

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