Abstract

The problem of light depolarization in a turbulent atmosphere is revisited by means of coupled-mode theory [ D. Marcuse, Theory of Dielectric Optical Waveguides ( Academic, New York, 1974)]. This allows, in particular, evaluation of the depolarization ratio for a plane wave and comparison of its expression with the one obtained in the frame of two distinct approaches predicting different behaviors [ A. A. M. Saleh, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-3, 540 ( 1967); J. W. Strohbehn and S. F. Clifford. IEEE Trans Antennas Propag. AP-15, 416 ( 1967)]. It is shown that both approaches give the same result when calculated to the same order in both smallness parameters relevant to the problem, thus resolving a controversy of more than 20 years.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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