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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Aug 29;91(9):093901. Epub 2003 Aug 26.

Spatial correlations in the near field of random media.

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School of Optics/CREOL, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-2700, USA.


The conventional coherence theory suggests that the fields radiated by statistically homogeneous sources correlate over spatial regions of the order of the wavelength irrespective of the distance from the surface of the source. Contrary to these predictions, we show that the spatial correlations of optical fields in close proximity of highly scattering, randomly inhomogeneous media depend on this distance and, moreover, their extent can be significantly smaller than the wavelength. The contribution of evanescent fields is experimentally demonstrated and the coherence length in the near field is shown to relate to the coherence properties at the surface which are, in turn, determined by the structural characteristics of the random media.

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