18 August 2005 A geometrical optics approach for modeling atmospheric turbulence
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Abstract
Atmospheric turbulence has a significant impact on the quality of a laser beam propagating through the atmosphere over long distances. Turbulence causes the optical phasefront to become distorted from propagation through turbulent eddies of varying sizes and refractive index. Turbulence also results in intensity scintillation and beam wander, which can severely impair the operation of target designation and free space optical (FSO) communications systems. We have developed a new model to assess the effects of turbulence on laser beam propagation in such applications. We model the atmosphere along the laser beam propagation path as a spatial distribution of spherical bubbles or curved interfaces. The size and refractive index discontinuity represented by each bubble are statistically distributed according to various models. For each statistical representation of the atmosphere, the path of a single ray, or a bundle of rays, is analyzed using geometrical optics. These Monte Carlo techniques allow us to assess beam wander, beam spread, and phase shifts along the path. An effective Cn2 can be determined by correlating beam wander behavior with the path length. This model has already proved capable of assessing beam wander, in particular the (Range)3 dependence of mean-squared beam wander, and in estimating lateral phase decorrelations that develop across the laser phasefront as it propagates through turbulence. In addition, we have developed efficient computational techniques for various correlation functions that are important in assessing the effects of turbulence. The Monte Carlo simulations are compared and show good agreement with the predictions of wave theory.
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Heba Yuksel, Walid Atia, Christopher C. Davis, "A geometrical optics approach for modeling atmospheric turbulence", Proc. SPIE 5891, Atmospheric Optical Modeling, Measurement, and Simulation, 589109 (18 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.615522; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.615522
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