We present an investigation of the optical property of orbital angular momentum (OAM) for use in the detection of objects obscured by a turbid underwater channel. In our experiment, a target is illuminated by a Gaussian beam. An optical vortex is formed by passing the object-reflected and backscattered light through a diffractive spiral phase plate at the receiver, which allows for the spatial separation of coherent and non-coherent light. This provides a method for discriminating target from environment. Initial laboratory results show that the ballistic target return can be detected 2-3 orders of magnitude below the backscatter clutter level. Furthermore, the detection of this coherent component is accomplished with the use of a complicated optical heterodyning scheme. The results suggest new optical sensing techniques for underwater imaging or LIDAR.
Brandon Cochenour, Lila Rodgers, Alan Laux, Linda Mullen, Kaitlyn Morgan, Jerome K. Miller, and Eric G. Johnson, "The detection of objects in a turbid underwater medium using orbital angular momentum (OAM)," Proc. SPIE 10186, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring IX, 1018603 (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 11, 2017; Published: 22 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2264626.
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