Abstract

A laser differential image-motion monitor (DIMM) system was designed and constructed as part of a turbulence characterization suite during the DARPA free-space optical experimental network experiment (FOENEX) program. The developed link measurement system measures the atmospheric coherence length (r0), atmospheric scintillation, and power in the bucket for the 1550 nm band. DIMM measurements are made with two separate apertures coupled to a single InGaAs camera. The angle of arrival (AoA) for the wavefront at each aperture can be calculated based on focal spot movements imaged by the camera. By utilizing a single camera for the simultaneous measurement of the focal spots, the correlation of the variance in the AoA allows a straightforward computation of r0 as in traditional DIMM systems. Standard measurements of scintillation and power in the bucket are made with the same apertures by redirecting a percentage of the incoming signals to InGaAs detectors integrated with logarithmic amplifiers for high sensitivity and high dynamic range. By leveraging two, small apertures, the instrument forms a small size and weight configuration for mounting to actively tracking laser communication terminals for characterizing link performance.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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