Heterodyne measurement of Wigner distributions for classical optical fields

K. F. Lee*, F. Reil, S. Bali, A. Wax, J. E. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a two-window heterodyne method for measuring the x-p cross correlation, 〈E*(x)E(p)〉, of an optical field E for transverse position x and transverse momentum p. This scheme permits independent control of the x and p resolution. A simple linear transform of the x-p correlation function yields the Wigner phase-space distribution. This technique is useful for both coherent and low-coherence light sources and may permit new biological imaging techniques based on transverse coherence measurement with time gating. We point out an interesting analogy between x-p correlation measurements for classical-wave and quantum fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1370-1372
Number of pages3
JournalOptics Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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