Coherence theory (optics)

In physics, coherence theory is the study of optical effects arising from partially coherent light and radio sources. Partially coherent sources are sources where the coherence time or coherence length are limited by bandwidth, by thermal noise, or by other effect. Many aspects of modern coherence theory are studied in quantum optics.

The theory of partial coherence was awoken in the 1930s due to work by Pieter Hendrik van Cittert and Frits Zernike.

Topics in coherence theoryEdit

See alsoEdit


  • Eugene Hecht and Alfred Zajac, Optics, (1974) Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, Massachusetts ISBN 978-0-201-02835-5. (Chapter 12 provides an undergraduate level introduction.)