Abstract

A generalized Huygens–Fresnel integral, valid for optical wave propagation through random inhomogeneities in the presence of any complex optical system characterized by an ABCD ray matrix, is used to derive a general expression for the mutual coherence function (MCF) associated with a Gaussian-beam wave in the weak-fluctuation regime. The mean irradiance obtained from this expression shows excellent agreement with all known asymptotic relations. By introducing a pair of effective beam parameters Θt and Λt that account for additional diffraction on the receiving aperture, resulting from turbulence, the normalized MCF and the related degree of coherence are formally extended into the regime of strong fluctuations. Results for the normalized MCF from this heuristic approach compare well with numerical calculations obtained directly from the formal solution of the parabolic equation. Also, the implied spatial coherence length from this analysis in moderate-to-strong-fluctuation regimes generally agrees more closely with numerical solutions of the parabolic equation than do previous approximate solutions. All calculations are based on the modified von Kármán spectrum for direct comparison with established results.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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