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Atmospheric turbulence effects measured along horizontal-path optical retro-reflector links

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Abstract

The scintillation measured over close-to-ground retro-reflector links can be substantially enhanced due to the correlations experienced by both the direct and reflected echo beams. Experiments were carried out at China Lake, California, over a variety of ranges. The emphasis in this paper is on presenting the data from the 1.1 km retro-reflecting link that was operated for four consecutive days. The dependence of the measured irradiance flux variance on the solar fluence and on the temperature gradient above the ground is presented. The data are consistent with scintillation minima near sunrise and sunset, rising rapidly during the day and saturating at irradiance flux variances of 10. Measured irradiance probability distributions of the retro-reflected beam are compared with standard probability density functions. The ratio of the irradiance flux variances on the retro-reflected to the direct, single-pass case is investigated with two data sets, one from a monostatic system and the other using an off-axis receiver system.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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