Universality of electromagnetic field correlations within homogeneous and isotropic sources

Tero Setälä, Kasimir Blomstedt, Matti Kaivola, Ari Friberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
326 Downloads (Pure)


We investigate the structure of second-order correlations in electromagnetic fields produced by statistically stationary, homogeneous, and isotropic current distributions. We show that the coherence properties of such fields within a low-loss or nondissipative medium do not depend on the source characteristics, but are solely determined by the propagation properties, and that the degree of coherence of the field is given by the sinc law. Our analysis reproduces the known results for blackbody fields, but it applies to a wider class of sources, not necessarily in thermal equilibrium. We discuss the physics behind the universal behavior of the correlations by comparing the results with those obtained by an electromagnetic plane-wave model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number026613
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • optical coherence theory


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