Abstract

Nonuniformly correlated partially coherent beams (PCBs) have extraordinary propagation properties, making it possible to further improve the performance of free-space optical communications. In this paper, a series of PCBs with varying degrees of coherence in the radial direction, academically called radial partially coherent beams (RPCBs), are considered. RPCBs with arbitrary coherence distributions can be created by adjusting the amplitude profile of a spatial modulation function imposed on a uniformly correlated phase screen. Since RPCBs cannot be well characterized by the coherence length, a modulation depth factor is introduced as an indicator of the overall distribution of coherence. By wave optics simulation, free-space and atmospheric propagation properties of RPCBs with (inverse) Gaussian and super-Gaussian coherence distributions are examined in comparison with conventional Gaussian Schell-model beams. Furthermore, the impacts of varying central coherent areas are studied. Simulation results reveal that under comparable overall coherence, beams with a highly coherent core and a less coherent margin exhibit a smaller beam spread and greater on-axis intensity, which is mainly due to the self-focusing phenomenon right after the beam exits the transmitter. Particularly, those RPCBs with super-Gaussian coherence distributions will repeatedly focus during propagation, resulting in even greater intensities. Additionally, RPCBs also have a considerable ability to reduce scintillation. And it is demonstrated that those properties have made RPCBs very effective in improving the mean signal-to-noise ratio of small optical receivers, especially in relatively short, weakly fluctuating links.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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