Abstract

Nonlinear effects on the propagation of a high power pulsed laser beam through the earth’s atmosphere are modeled. Stimulated Raman scattering in relatively modest power laser beams is estimated to be very significant when extremely long path lengths are considered. Whole beam self-focusing may also seriously affect beam propagation. The observation of these phenomena is likely to be enhanced by wavefront compensation techniques to remove linear refractive-index atmospheric effects such as beam steering and scintillation. Examples of space to ground and ground to space beam propagation are presented.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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