Abstract

An analysis of adaptive optics compensation for atmospheric-turbulence-induced scintillation is presented with the figure of merit being the laser communications bit-error rate. The formulation covers weak, moderate, and strong turbulence; on-off keying; and amplitude-shift keying, over horizontal propagation paths or on a ground-to-space uplink or downlink. The theory shows that under some circumstances the bit-error rate can be improved by a few orders of magnitude with the addition of adaptive optics to compensate for the scintillation. Low-order compensation (less than 40 Zernike modes) appears to be feasible as well as beneficial for reducing the bit-error rate and increasing the throughput of the communication link.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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