Abstract

Global refractive gradients in seawater cause pointing problems for optical wireless communications. A refractive index depth profile of the Pacific Ocean was calculated from measured salinity, temperature, and pressure, determining the end points of a refracted and nonrefracted 200 m communication link. Numerical ray tracing was used with a point source for angles between 10° and 80° and transmission wavelengths of 500–650 nm; the maximum end-point difference found was 0.23 m. A 500 nm laser with a 0.57° full-angle FOV was traced; the nonrefracted receiver location was outside the FOV for all links angled >15° to the vertical. However, most pointing issues underwater are unlikely to be significant with suitable FOV choice and natural scattering of the source.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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