High-speed free-space optical communication systems using fiber-optic components can greatly improve the stability of the system and simplify the structure. However, propagation through atmospheric turbulence degrades the spatial coherence of the signal beam and limits the single-mode fiber (SMF) coupling efficiency. In this paper, we analyze the influence of the atmospheric turbulence on the SMF coupling efficiency over various turbulences. The results show that the SMF coupling efficiency drops from 81% without phase distortion to 10% when phase root mean square value equals . The simulations of SMF coupling with adaptive optics (AO) indicate that it is inevitable to compensate the high-order aberrations for SMF coupling over relatively strong turbulence. The SMF coupling efficiency experiments, using an AO system with a 137-element deformable mirror and a Hartmann–Shack wavefront sensor, obtain average coupling efficiency increasing from 1.3% in open loop to 46.1% in closed loop under a relatively strong turbulence, .
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