Abstract

By means of numerical simulations we analyze the statistical properties of the power fluctuations induced by the incoherent superposition of multiple transmitted laser beams in a terrestrial free-space optical communication link. The measured signals arising from different transmitted optical beams are found to be statistically correlated. This channel correlation increases with receiver aperture and propagation distance. We find a simple scaling rule for the spatial correlation coefficient in terms of the propagation distance and we are able to predict the scintillation reduction in previously reported experiments with good accuracy. We propose an approximation to the probability density function of the received power of a spatially correlated multiple-beam system in terms of the parameters of the single-channel gamma–gamma function. A bit-error-rate evaluation is also presented to demonstrate the improvement of a multibeam system over its single-beam counterpart.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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