Abstract

Communications links that utilize modulating retro-reflectors can make use of turbulence-induced fade information available at the remote data-signal terminal in order to optimize the data transfer rate. Experiments were conducted to measure the irradiance in both the direct and the retro-reflected beams. Both on-axis and off-axis components were recorded in order to further study the enhancement in the scintillation index observed in the retro-reflected beam. Measurements were made over a 1.8 km terrestrial range at AP Hill, Virginia. The degree of correlation of the received irradiance between the direct and double-passage beams is found to approach 90% on-axis and 70% outside of the Fresnel zone radius. The scintillation index in the retro-reflected beam is enhanced on-axis due to reciprocal optical paths. The measured scintillation indices, and the correlation of the retro-reflected beam with the direct beam, are compared with a point source, point scatterer, and point receiver model in the strong scintillation approximation.

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