Abstract

A theoretical and experimental study of the propagation of vortex laser beams in a random aerosol medium is presented. The theoretical study is based on the extended Huygens–Fresnel principle with the generation of a random field, using the fast Fourier transform. The simulation shows that the stability of vortex beams to fluctuations of an optical medium falls with rising order of optical vortices. Moreover, a coherence length (radius) of the random medium is of great importance. The coherence radius extension affects adversely the conservation of a beam structure in the random medium. During further free-space propagation, increasing coherence enables reduction of the negative effects of fluctuations for beams with high-value topological charges. Experimental studies in the random aerosol medium have shown that at small distances vortex beams mostly demonstrate lower stability than a Gaussian beam. However, at considerable distances, vortex beams start to demonstrate greater stability that may be explained by their capacity to be regenerated after they passed obstacles.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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