Abstract

Two naturally linked pairs of nondimensional parameters are identified such that either pair, together with wavelength and path length, completely specifies the diffractive propagation environment for a lowest-order paraxial Gaussian beam. Both parameter pairs are intuitive, and within the context of locally homogeneous and isotropic turbulence they reflect the long-recognized importance of the Fresnel zone size in the behavior of Rytov propagation statistics. These parameter pairs, called, respectively, the transmitter and receiver parameters, also provide a change in perspective in the analysis of optical turbulence effects on Gaussian beams by unifying a number of behavioral traits previously observed or predicted, and they create an environment in which the determination of limiting interrelationships between beam forms is especially simple. The fundamental nature of the parameter pairs becomes apparent in the derived analytical expressions for the log-amplitude variance and the wave structure function. These expressions verify general optical turbulence-related characteristics predicted for Gaussian beams, provide additional insights into beam-wave behavior, and are convenient tools for beam-wave analysis.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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