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The literature contains very few examples of discussions of image formation with partially coherent light. The reason for this is probably that the calculations are somewhat difficult because of the nonlinear nature of the problem. Furthermore, the need for understanding partially coherent image formation was not essential since most imaging systems and image evaluation techniques were considered incoherent processes - this is no longer the case.
Thus far in our discussions of coherent imaging, we have placed the main emphasis on a comparison between the incoherent image forming process and the coherent image forming process (see Chapter 12) since this could provide some insight into the more general problems associated with the partially coherent situation. However, it must be stressed that coherent imaging is important in its own right because of the great interest in coherent optical data processing and holography. In both of these examples, the systems used provide images that are essentially coherent.
In this chapter, we wish to discuss some further examples of incoherent image formation for transilluminated objects and describe the effects produced in image formation in reflected light. Both types of image forming processes are basic to a variety of areas in optical data processing and holography.
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