Abstract

The active illumination of a target through a turbulent medium with a monostatic transmitter–receiver results in a naturally occurring conjugate wave caused by reciprocal scattering paths that experience identical phase variations. This reciprocal path-scattering phenomenon produces an enhanced backscatter in the retroverse direction (precisely along the boresight of the pointing telescope). A dual aperture causes this intensity enhancement to take the form of Young’s interference fringes. Interference fringes produced by the reciprocal path-scattering phenomenon are temporally stable even in the presence of time-varying turbulence. Choosing the width-to-separation ratio of the dual apertures appropriately and utilizing orthogonal polarizations to suppress the time-varying common-path scattered radiation allow one to achieve interferometric sensitivity in pointing accuracy through a random medium or turbulent atmosphere. Computer simulations are compared with laboratory experimental data. This new precision pointing and tracking technique has potential applications in ground-to-space laser communications, laser power beaming to satellites, and theater missile defense scenarios.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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