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Atmospheric-turbulence compensation by resonant optical backscattering from the sodium layer in the upper atmosphere

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Abstract

A new concept is described for creating artificial beacons for atmospheric-turbulence compensation. A laser tuned to the sodium D2 line is used to excite resonant optical backscattering from the sodium layer in the upper atmosphere. The performance of such a system is compared with that expected from artificial beacons based on Rayleigh scattering in the lower atmosphere. It is found that sodium scattering has a more favorable scaling to large-aperture systems. Applications to the compensation of ground-based astronomical telescopes for atmospheric turbulence are described.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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