We study the behavior of the scintillation index (the normalized variance of fluctuating intensity) of a wide-sense statistically stationary, quasi-monochromatic, electromagnetic beam propagating in a homogeneous isotropic medium. In particular, we show that in the case when the beam is treated electromagnetically apart from the correlation properties of the medium in which the beam travels not only its degree of coherence but also its degree of polarization in the source plane can affect the values of the scintillation index along the propagation path. We find that, generally, beams generated by unpolarized sources have reduced level of scintillation, compared with beams generated by fully polarized sources, provided they have the same intensity distribution and the same state of coherence in the source plane. An example illustrating the theory is considered which examines how the scintillation index of an electromagnetic Gaussian Schell-model beam propagates in the turbulent atmosphere. These results may find applications in optical communications through random media and in remote sensing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering