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Light-beat measurement of phase fluctuations of a laser beam propagating through a turbulent atmosphere

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Real-time processing of phase fluctuations of a laser beam has been considered in association with the phase of a beat signal of light. Two fine light beams, included in the expanded laser beam propagating through an artificially turbulent atmosphere, are shifted in frequency by two successive ultrasonic light modulators at slightly different frequencies, so that they can be photomixed to generate a beat signal whose phase is randomly modulated. The fluctuating phase difference of the two fine beams can be revealed in real-time from the phase of the beat signal. It is immediately processed by a conventional wave-height analyzer, from which a probability density and its variance are simply obtained. When the atmosphere is perturbed by the blower with a heater alone, the probability density takes the Gaussian form and the variance obeys approximately the 5/3-power law as the two beam separation is increased. When the turbulent atmosphere is further disturbed by some metallic mesh, the probability density does not always obey Gaussian statistics, but it depends greatly on the turbulent state of the atmosphere.

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Ohtsuka, Y., Sasaki, I. Light-beat measurement of phase fluctuations of a laser beam propagating through a turbulent atmosphere. Appl. Phys. 3, 15–20 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00892329

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Index Headings

  • Phase fluctuations of light
  • Light propagation through turbulent atmosphere