• Journal Article

Atmospheric turbulence characterization with simultaneous measurement of phase, angle-of-arrival, and intensity in a retroreflected optical link

B. Dix-Matthews; S. Karpathakis; S. Schediwy


Free-space optical transmission through Earth’s atmosphere is applicable to high-speed data transmission and optical clock comparisons, among other uses. Fluctuations in the refractive index of the atmosphere limit the performance of atmospheric optical transmission by inducing phase noise, angle-of-arrival variation, and scintillation. The statistics of these deleterious effects are predicted by models for the spatial spectrum of the atmospheric refractive index structure. We present measurements of phase fluctuations, angle-of-arrival variations, and scintillation, taken concurrently and compared with models for the atmospheric refractive index structure. The measurements are also cross-compared by deriving independent estimates of the turbulence structure constant C_n^2. We find agreement within an order of magnitude for derived C_n^2 values for all three metrics.

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