Abstract

The propagation of a laser beam through Rayleigh–Bénard (RB) turbulence is investigated experimentally and by way of numerical simulation. For the experimental part, a focused laser beam transversed a 5  m×0.5  m×0.5  m water filled tank lengthwise. The tank is heated from the bottom and cooled from the top to produce convective RB turbulence. The effect of the turbulence on the beam is recorded on the exit of the beam from the tank. From the centroid motion of the beam, the index of refraction structure constant Cn2 is determined. For the numerical efforts RB turbulence is simulated for a tank of the same geometry. The simulated temperature fields are converted to the index of refraction distributions, and Cn2 is extracted from the index of refraction structure functions, as well as from the simulated beam wander. To model the effect on beam propagation, the simulated index of refraction fields are converted to discrete index of refraction phase screens. These phase screens are then used in a split-step beam propagation method to investigate the effect of the turbulence on a laser beam. The beam wander as well as the index of refraction structure parameter Cn2 determined from the experiment and simulation are compared and found to be in good agreement.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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