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Coherent thermal radiation

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The radiation emitted by a heated body is generally quoted as a typical example of incoherent radiation, in distinction to laser radiation. One is nearly isotropic, the other highly directional; one is spectrally broad, the other quasi-monochromatic. It may come as a surprise that the thermal radiation of a large number of substances is coherent, both in space and time, when it is observed at a distance from the body that is shorter than the wavelength. This behaviour can be understood within an electromagnetic approach to thermal emission. Several recent experiments have confirmed these unexpected properties.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'Énergétique Moléculaire et Macroscopique, France 2: Institut für Physik, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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