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Radiative effects of atmospheric aerosols on the average channel capacity of free-space optical communication systems

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Abstract

Free-space optical (FSO) communication systems employ unguided light beams propagating through the atmosphere to carry a large volume of data. The reliability of such data transfer can be hampered by various atmospheric effects. Based on an analytical model of a differential phase-shift keying FSO system through exponentiated Weibull turbulence, we investigate the effectiveness of beam width optimization and improved beam alignment, along with aperture averaging on the average channel capacity. Our results show significant signal deterioration produced due to the aerosol-induced optical turbulence, which substantially shadows the performance gain achieved through beam width optimization. Strong aerosol-induced atmospheric heating and the consequent enhanced optical scintillations result in reduction of the channel capacity by as much as 50% of its value when these effects are not considered or negligible. FSO systems are more resilient to aerosol-induced optical turbulence when the normalized beam width is less, and the average channel capacity can be significantly improved by improved beam alignment. These variations are weakly dependent under poor transmitter–receiver alignment conditions. Furthermore, the receiver aperture has a strong control on the link performance. While FSO systems with higher magnitude of normalized beam width have improved performance under all aperture diameter conditions; for a given beam configuration, large aperture diameter ensures a significant improvement in the link performance due to reduction in effects of scintillations.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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References

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Data Availability

Data underlying the results presented in this paper are available in Refs. [3841]. Other generated data is not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

38. University of Wyoming, “Radiosonde data,” College of Engineering, Department of Atmospheric Science (2021), http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html.

41. NASA, “MODIS level 3 data,” Goddard Space Flight Center (2020), https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/modis-terraaqua-l3-value-added-aerosol-optical-depth-nrt.

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