Abstract

We present the theory, design, simulation, and experimental evaluations of a new laser transmissometer system for aerosol extinction rate measurement over long paths. The transmitter emits an ON/OFF modulated Gaussian beam that does not require strict collimation. The receiver uses multiple point detectors to sample the sub-aperture irradiance of the arriving beam. The sparse detector arrangement makes our transmissometer system immune to turbulence-induced beam distortion and beam wander caused by the atmospheric channel. Turbulence effects often cause spatial discrepancies in beam propagation and lead to miscalculation of true power loss when using the conventional approach of measuring the total beam power directly with a large-aperture optical concentrator. Our transmissometer system, on the other hand, combines the readouts from distributed detectors to rule out turbulence-induced temporal power fluctuations. As a result, we show through both simulation and field experiments that our transmissometer system works accurately with turbulence strength Cn2 up to 1012  m2/3 over a typical 1-km atmospheric channel. In application, our turbulence- and weather-resistant laser transmissometer system has significant advantages for the measurement and study of aerosol concentration, absorption, and scattering properties, which are crucial for directed energy systems, ground-level free-space optical communication systems, environmental monitoring, and weather forecasting.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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References

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Supplementary Material (3)

NameDescription
» Visualization 1       Measured channel extinction coefficient in correlation with weather situation recorded by a Bloomsky camera.
» Visualization 2       Long-term beam profile reconstructed from a multi-aperture transmissometer system.
» Visualization 3       Long-term beam profile reconstructed from a multi-aperture transmissometer system.

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