In this paper we compare the theoretical performances of two schemes of optical communication through the atmospheric turbulence: (1) heterodyne detection and (2) video detection. The signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) in the output current of a detector are expressed for both schemes in terms of the correlation function of the refractive index fluctuations of the turbulence. The results of a separate theoretical analysis of optical wave propagation through a random turbulence are used in order to obtain a numerical estimate of the performance criterion (S/N)(2)/(S/N)(1) in terms of the length of propagation through the atmosphere, the turbulence strength, the wavelength of the optical wave, and the diameter of the receiving aperture.
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