Abstract

The interaction between real and virtual point emitters is presented as the propagation principle of light under arbitrary spatial coherence. It is supported on a geometrical interpretation of the two-point correlation and the introduction of the geometrical potential. This principle and the spectrum of classes of point emitters constitute a complete theoretical model that offers a unified phenomenological framework for interference and diffraction not only of light but also of single particles, which is not possible in the conventional formalism based on the wave superposition principle.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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