Abstract

We examine the temporal coherence properties of trains of nonidentical short optical pulses in the framework of the second-order coherence theory of nonstationary light. Considering Michelson’s interferometric measurement of temporal coherence, we demonstrate that time-resolved interferograms reveal the full two-time temporal coherence function of the partially coherent pulse train. We also show that the result given by the time-integrated Michelson interferogram equals the true degree of temporal coherence only when the pulse train is quasi-stationary, i.e., the coherence time is a small fraction of the pulse duration. True two-time and integrated coherence functions produced by specific models representing perturbed trains of mode-locked pulses and supercontinuum pulse trains produced in nonlinear fibers are illustrated.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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