Abstract

The heterodyne efficiency of a coherent free-space optical (FSO) communication model under the effects of atmospheric turbulence and misalignment is studied in this paper. To be more general, both the transmitted beam and local oscillator beam are assumed to be partially coherent based on the Gaussian Schell model (GSM). By using the derived analytical form of the cross-spectral function of a GSM beam propagating through atmospheric turbulence, a closed-form expression of heterodyne efficiency is derived, assuming that the propagation directions for the transmitted and local oscillator beams are slightly different. Then the impacts of atmospheric turbulence, configuration of the two beams (namely, beam radius and spatial coherence width), detector radius, and misalignment angle over heterodyne efficiency are examined. Numerical results suggest that the beam radius of the two overlapping beams can be optimized to achieve a maximum heterodyne efficiency according to the turbulence conditions and the detector radius. It is also found that atmospheric turbulence conditions will significantly degrade the efficiency of heterodyne detection, and compared to fully coherent beams, partially coherent beams are less sensitive to the changes in turbulence conditions and more robust against misalignment at the receiver.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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