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J. J. Greffet and C. Henkel
Coherent thermal radiation
Contemp. Phys. 48 (2007) 183-94, top downloaded paper in 2007.


    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.

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