degree of coherence
Fr.: degré de cohérence
The extent of → coherence of an → electromagnetic wave, as indicated by a → dimensionless number. Since interference takes place when waves are → coherent, using a → Young's experiment, the degree of coherence is measured from the → fringe → visibility, V. It is defined as the ratio V = (Imax - Imin) / (Imax + Imin), where Imax is the intensity at a maximum of the → interference pattern, and Imin is the intensity at a minimum of the interference pattern. The electromagnetic wave is considered to be highly coherent when the degree of coherence is about 1, incoherent for nearly zero values, and partially coherent for values between 0 and 1.